If you are interested in a communication method to improve your employee
productivity and relationships, this book might have the solution. Moving from
his bestselling book on how to express appreciation among couples, Chapman has applied
that successful method into the field of business. I use his appreciation languages in
counseling and I think this approach will work as well in business. In Chapman’s view there are 5 languages which
best communicate appreciation. Each
person has one or two preferred ways they want to receive it. Unfortunately, most of us only express
appreciation the way we want it, not the way the other person wants to receive it.
This book guides us to overcome our bias
of using an appreciation style we like and instead use a style that will be
best appreciated by the recipient. At this review time my hardback copy is #23 on
the ECPA bestseller list. Chapman’s
original couples’ bestseller has risen to #2 on the current bestseller list. You can tell appreciation “languages” are popular
and very useful to relationships. Chapman developed an inventory to use in
business thus giving the manager an idea of what style of appreciation to use
with each employee. After you implement this method, you should see some
significantly positive changes in attitude for most, if not all of them. This
book is an easy but important read and if you manage people, I recommend you
immerse yourself in a copy.
Things I liked in the book:
The number one factor in job satisfaction is not
the amount of pay but whether or not the individual feels appreciated and
valued for the work they do, p. 11.
For recognition and appreciation to be
effective, they must be individualized and delivered personally, p. 21
It is well-documented that global praise (“Good
job”, “you’re a good student”) does very little to encourage the recipient, and
doesn’t increase the positive behaviors desired, p. 49.
Chapman lists 4 styles of praise: Personal
one-on-one, praise in front of others, written affirmation, and public
affirmation that is a fine-tuned way to praise an employee, pp. 53-55.
Quality time means that listening to what the
employee has to say can be the most important form of appreciation to
them. Chapman lists 4 dialects of
quality time. It does not always mean just good listening, pp. 63-69.
Acts of Service: “Is there anything I could do
for you that would make your work easier?”, p. 85.
The Power of Tangible Gifts: Chapman gives two
requirements for this appreciation language to work effectively, pp. 91-93.
Additional field testing …revealed that not one
person was found to have Physical Touch as their primary language of
appreciation in the workplace, p. 103.
[Accepted touching] A pat on the back, a quick
handshake, or a high five are example of implicit touches and are common
expressions of physical touch in some work settings, p. 105.
Chapman developed the Motivated by Appreciation
(MBA) inventory to help managers test for the types of appreciation her/his
employees would prefer, Chapter 8.
The language we value least can become our
“blind spot” in effectively communicating appreciation to colleagues for whom
that language is highly significant, p. 135.
Chapman spends the rest of the chapters talking
about applying the languages or how they are applied in specific industries.
If you have watched the TV show Fixer Upper, you know Chip and Joanna
Gaines. They are a Christian couple who
fix and modernize old houses for other people. Based out of Waco, Texas, they
are somewhat opposites. Joanna thinks through things, Chip is much more
impulsive. He also doesn’t like to lose
a bet. On one show I saw him eat a dead cockroach in order to win a 50-dollar
bet. That is impulsive and totally
repulsive and showcases part of Chip Gaines’ personality. In this book you will see that his life is
one of learning from mistakes and due to his impulsivity, he has made a lot of
mistakes. Yet he has made a success out
of failure. Accompanied by a positive
attitude and a huge heart for others, Chip Gaines is a man you want to be your
friend. Beware, he shares some mistakes
in the book, but not a lot. It includes some life stories and some Chip Gaines
philosophy added in. This is an enjoyable read and at the time of this review
was #30 (down from #20) on the ECPA bestseller’s list.
What I liked in this hardback book:
“I knew it wasn’t “normal” that I couldn’t read
yet, but it never occurred to me that it was something to be embarrassed
about….My positive outlook has blinded me to plenty of things over the
years. Maybe it also protected me at
times from the things I didn’t need to see”, p. 4.
“The only reason I even tried in school was so
that I could make the grades to play baseball.
Education was simply a means to an end”, pp. 8-9.
[After being cut from the college baseball team]
“Apparently there’s a cap to the amount of self-pity time a person gets,
because one morning I woke up and realized it was time to snap out of it. The time had come for me to get on with my
life,” p. 12.
He heads to Mexico to learn Spanish leaving
Joanna with taking care of his haphazard businesses (this is before they are
married). You must also read about the Brahma
bull incident. Chapter 3.
“Jo and I have always believed that it is us
against the world. It’s not that we
think everyone is out to get us. But we know that in all the world there is
this one singular human who will be on our team every time. Understanding this and protecting it at all
costs has become bedrock for our marriage,” p. 41.
Chip tells about how he got that big scar on his
forehead clowning around on a four-wheeler.
Risk takers should read the paragraphs after his words, “Normal was the
complete opposite of what I’d always wanted to be,” p. 48.
“I don’t sit around and allow the what-ifs and
worst-case scenarios to control me,” p, 65.
You need to read how Chip pulled off a
red-carpet event for Joanna with little money in the bank. Chapter 7.
[Buying the silos] “The thing is, Jo had gotten
behind every crazy dream I’d come up with over the years. Now she was the crazy dreamer….And I was
gonna do everything in my power to help her do it,” p. 98.
“We pride ourselves in on-the-job training and solving
problems. I like people who work first
and ask questions later,” p. 114
“But even after all of that manual labor, making
a TV show is the most exhausting job I’ve ever done…. The irony is that on
camera it appears that I’m just goofing off, playing really, when in reality it
is the hardest work I do,” p. 125.
HGTV also provided us with a platform to share
our perspective and we are grateful for that too. In an industry that doesn’t
often show authentically happy marriages, we have loved getting to go in front
of the camera and laugh, hug, argue, collaborate, and cheer each other on,” p.
[Current political conflicts] I want to live in
a world where we are all considered each other’s neighbor, where every person’s
voice matters,” p. 148.
“It is truly my life’s mission to empower people
to relentlessly chase after their dreams, no natter the cost,” p. 158.