Show me the love (in the way I prefer)

January 29, 2018  |  Stephanie Schmidt

Show me the love (in the way I prefer)

Several months ago, I talked about the importance of recognizing people for their hard work. I was reminded this week that it’s equally as important to understand the way in which people prefer to be recognized.

Jana Cinnamon, chief operating officer at Abdo, Eick & Meyers, LLP, recently spoke to other firm administrators and peers about the languages of appreciation in the workplace.

Consider this scenario: You complete a project that took considerable time and energy. During a meeting with several of your colleagues, your supervisor calls attention to your job well done. People start clapping and patting you on the back -- which makes you want to crawl under the table. You’d much prefer a little dedicated time with your busy manager for a quality conversation without emails, meetings and phone calls taking over.

Public praise is a nice gesture, but not everyone wants that type of recognition. If someone is attempting to show appreciation for the work you’ve done in a way you don’t prefer, it can have the opposite of the intended effect. As managers, this can prove tricky, and for that reason, some simply stop showing appreciation all together.

Yet, that’s the worst thing you can do. A recent study conducted by The O.C. Tanner Institute says 79 percent of employees who quit their jobs cite a lack of appreciation as a key reason for leaving.

So, rather than hold back appreciation altogether, it’s time to start learning how your colleagues and those you manage prefer to be appreciated.

Based on the book, “The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace,” there are five primary ways to show appreciation in the office.

  • Words of affirmation: a written note or simple email
  • Quality time: going out to lunch or a meaningful one-on-one conversation
  • Acts of service: helping someone out with a task
  • Tangible gifts: a gift card or sweet treat
  • Physical touch: giving a high five or shaking hands

People desperately want to feel appreciated both personally and professionally. Think about those you work with, especially those you manage. If you’re not sure how your employees or colleagues prefer appreciation, just ask them. In my experience, people aren’t going to randomly offer that information. Yet, when simply asked, most people will readily share what “language” they prefer that makes them feel appreciated.

Topics: Supervision

Stephanie Schmidt

Stephanie Schmidt is the MNCPA director of membership and marketing. For more than 10 years, she has expertly managed numerous member programs and events. Her skillset comes in handy when also planning sleepovers and birthday parties for her family. Stephanie has also earned the MNCPA’s unofficial title of office fashionista. Step into her office and you’ll see her knack for fashion, design and décor. She’s also a hugger, which you’ll appreciate if you’re ever trapped in a scary escape room with her. Stephanie can be reached at 952-885-5523 or

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