Do you know where the best place to work is? Out of all the places you have worked, which was the best? Maybe you are there right now. If asked why it was or is the best, you might have a difficult time articulating a response. Some things would be tangible like pay and time off and other benefits. Some would be intangible, good relationships, autonomy, or a great commute. Now, think of that good place and try to picture that instead of people walking around saying good morning to everyone, they said I hate you. Whoa, that’s harsh. What an environment killer that would be. Regardless of pay or benefits or commute, no one would want to work there. The best place for you to work maybe where you are right now. What if that feeling of it being the best place to work were only a few good words away?

There is a book written by Gary Chapman titled The Five Love Languages. To be honest I have never read it but the point of it is to find out how to show love to your spouse in a way that is meaningful to them personally. My wife told me years ago that her love language was what we call AAA: Attention, Affection, and Appreciation. This included things like always speaking kindly, putting things aside to spend time with her, and showing gratitude among many others. I have a long way to go but just knowing this has been hugely helpful in our relationship and I strive to show these things daily through my words and deeds. Chris and I have written numerous times about the power of words and their impact on those around you. Language is more than just words though. There is spoken and unspoken language. You can speak a ton in some circumstances by saying nothing. Picture a dating couple and the guy says, “I love you,” and hears nothing on the other end. No words but a ton of communication, she is definitely not speaking his love language. As I considered reading the book I thought about love languages at work.

With the understanding that we are not talking about romantic relationships here, consider if you knew from each team member what their work love language was. How could you speak to them differently? What if there was an initiative to study work love languages of everyone at work? There is such a thing as common courtesy which everyone appreciates, but what if John in the corner really likes to focus between 9AM and 10:30 without a break or interruption. What if Sally really hates to walk down the stairwell by herself and feels safer with a friend. What if Ben really appreciates others thoughts on his projects. All of these are in a way examples of people’s work love language. It is how they feel like team members and leaders are hearing them.

I love to imagine an environment at work where everyone understood how to show appreciation, affection (appropriately) and attention, in other words everyone would value and honor everyone else sense of how they feel appreciated. In this election year where every radio and TV ad is full of hate,  let us all stop to think about how much better our work cultures would be if we took the time to consider others first. We all play a part in making the places where we work the best place to work, one kind work at a time.



  1. pF | Reply

    Bill, great great great topic! I’m thinking that animosity among co-workers usually comes from a competitive spirit…what if we stopped competing against each other, supported one another in our work love language, and then started competing against ourselves, and how good we know we can be compared to how we are right now…! You got me thinking this morning!!!

    I know I respond a lot better to constructive criticism, or an ‘atta boy’ pat on the back, than to beating the next guy or gal in the cubicle next to me…

    1. Bill Rieger Post author | Reply
      Bill Rieger

      Thanks Paul! Great insight there and it is exactly what I’m saying. What makes you tick is different from anyone else and it is a better place to work when there is awareness.

  2. José Ninguém | Reply

    Great article Bill. I can appreciate that you stay on top of trying to create an environment where people feel welcome, appreciated, and understood. In a large enterprise setting, I imagine that this can be somewhat of a daunting task. As someone who is transitioning from a “technical service” role to a managerial role, this is something that I am determined to do in a very proficient way. I believe that its extremely important to help create an environment that promotes happiness, a sense of belonging, and personal/professional development. All of which culminates to produces a higher level of productivity, and satisfaction.

    I also think that management has to be “present” and involved with downstream team members (i.e. their employees) to effectively provide the proper support needed for an efficient and effective team/department. When management is not providing this interaction, morale takes a nose dive and productivity falls. I have been a part of such environments which ultimately swayed me to make a decision to seek other opportunities even though it was a great place to work.

    I continue to read and enjoy the great content that is put out on this blog and I feel that it enriches my mind and helps me to become a better person both professionally and personally. Thanks for creating the content and keep up the good work!

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