Category: Appreciation

Requirement for Authentic Relationships

Authentic relationships require honesty. Bill said to his wife Martha, “I have felt for a long time that you don’t love me. I have felt that you demand many things from me, but give me little of your affection. So, I feel angry and cold toward you. I pray that we can learn to be open and work through our problems. I do not want to be controlled by my negative feelings.” Was this painful for Martha to hear? Absolutely, but Bill is giving her valuable information. If she wants to restore the marriage she will choose to listen and seek to understand his feelings. If she allows her own defensive feelings to control her, they will simply have another fight. Listening leads to understanding.

Why Cynicism is Good for Your Workplace

Guest Post: Dr. Paul White, co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace

This may seem to be a bit of an “about face” for me – given my previous writing on how cynicism is a result of “bad” employee recognition or when employees question the authenticity of appreciation communicated. But it occurred to me that, really, cynicism can be a positive influence in our workplaces. How?

1) When people are cynical, they are giving us honest feedback about how they really feel. When was the last time that you heard a cynical remark from a colleague and you accused them of not being honest regarding how they really feel? (Aside from the sarcastic remark: “So, Janice, tells us how you really feel!”) Cynicism communicates from the heart, so you don’t have to question whether the person is being honest with their comment.

2) Cynical remarks give us a reality check with what was said, promised or done in the past. When people question the probability of the most recent promise actually happening, they almost always refer back to a prior promise or commitment that wasn’t fulfilled.(“Oh, so this is just like the time the management said that if we got the project completed on time, we’d share in the bonus the company received. Didn’t happen.”) So they help us remember what we said (and didn’t follow through on) before. They become sort of our informal historians.

3) Cynicism lets us know how people perceive our words and actions. Have you ever noticed that most cynical remarks are fairly quick, “on the spot” quips or “come back’s” to a statement? They are largely unedited thoughts and attitudes spoken out loud. And they fairly directly communicate how others view what we just said, did or promised – unfortunately, the message is: “I don’t believe you.” So most cynical remarks give us a clue that we need to work on our following through on what we say. (Sometimes, I will admit, that cynicism is coming from the heart of the speaker – that they are angry and resentful about life in general – and that their remark may have little to do with you, me or whoever is speaking.)

4) Cynicism provides the opportunity to learn what would be really meaningful to others. If we take the time to listen to the cynical comment, not dismiss it immediately as “disrespectful” and “unfounded”, then we actually can learn something from our colleagues. A follow-up question like: “What would could be done that would start to demonstrate that we mean what we say?” can provide some valuable insight into how others are thinking – and how we can begin to rebuild trust.

I’m not advocating for implementing strategies for increasing cynicism in our work environments (there seems to be plenty). But I do think we can learn positive lessons from the cynical remarks we hear, and then try to address the root issues of “unbelievability” that help create the cynical mindset.

Difference in the Climate

So many people have encouraged me to take the five love languages to the workplace. So, I teamed up with Dr. Paul White and after three years of research we have released a new book:  The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace. We hope that this book will do for work relationships what the five love languages has done for millions of marriages.

You need not be the supervisor or manager to read the book and implement its concepts. Take the free on-line inventory that comes with the purchase of the book and learn your own primary ‘appreciation language’, secondary language and the one that is least meaningful. Encourage your co-workers to do the same. You can make a difference in the climate of your workplace.

Scale of 0-10

On a scale of 0–10, how much appreciation do you feel from your supervisor? How about your co-workers? Employees and volunteers perform better if they feel appreciated. However, it is not enough to express appreciation, it must be expressed in a way  that is meaningful to the employee.

Here are the five languages of appreciation that Dr. Paul White and I discovered:

  1. Words of Affirmation
  2. Quality Time
  3. Acts of Service (that is offering to help out)
  4. Tangible gifts
  5. Appropriate Physical Touch

Words of appreciation may make one employee feel appreciated, but be rather empty to another.  Learn the language of  each employee and change the climate of your workplace.  For better work relationships, visit

Employee Related Concerns

Business leaders say that their biggest employee-related concerns are: discouragement, burnout, feeling overwhelmed, losing the positive corporate culture built over the years, and how to encourage employees with reduced financial resources available.

When people feel appreciated, they are excited about going to work. They are committed to the company, and their performance is likely increased. Learning to speak the appreciation language of each employee is extremely important. One size does not fit all. Our on-line assessment—the Motivating by Appreciation Inventory—comes free with the purchase of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace.

No Praise or Recognition

A recent Gallup poll indicated that 70% of the workers in the United States say that they receive no praise or recognition in the workplace. One man said to me, “I have worked for this company for 20 years and in 20 years, no one has ever told me that they appreciate what I do.” How sad. I think that most managers try to express appreciation, but often their efforts do not connect, because they are speaking the wrong language.

We believe The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace will help managers and colleagues be more effective in expressing appreciation. When people feel appreciated they will reach a higher level of their potential and have a higher level of job satisfaction. This is good for the customer and for the business.

Coming Back

Over 50 percent of the adult population in the United States indicate that they are involved in some volunteer activity over the course of a year. Many of these people volunteer in churches or other non-profit organizations That is a huge work force. What motivates these people? Usually, they want to make a difference. They want to do something that helps others.

But what keeps them coming back? Why do they continue to volunteer? Or, why do they drop out? I believe the answer lies in the word “Appreciation”, or the lack of it.  In my newest book, The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace, which I co-authored with Dr. Paul White, we help pastors and non-profit leaders learn how to effectively express appreciation to volunteers.

I Love Working Here

One lady said about her job, “I love working here!  I can’t think of any other place I would rather work.” WOW! Every supervisor would like to hear that. But not everyone feels that way. One man said, “I’d leave this place tomorrow if I could find another job.” What is the key to job satisfaction? I believe it lies in one word:  appreciation. When people feel appreciated, they like to come to work.

My newest book, The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace, is designed to help you be effective in communicating appreciation. What makes one person feel appreciated, does not work for another. Along with the book, we created an on-line assessment that comes free when you buy the book.  It’s called: Motivating by Appreciation Inventory. Discover your appreciation language today.

Crying Out

According to research conducted by the US Department of Labor, 64 percent of Americans who leave their jobs say they do so because they don’t feel appreciated. Something deep within the human psyche cries out for appreciation. When that need is unmet, then job satisfaction will be diminished. Think about what would happen if all workers felt appreciated.

It would create a more positive work environment, people would be more committed to the company, would reach more of their potential, and the level of job satisfaction would rise. Dr. Paul White and I point the way, in our newest book: The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace. We believe that one person can start the process.

Drag or Joy

We often talk about marriage and family relationships, but many of us spend more of our waking hours at work than we do at home. So, how are your work relationships going? Work can be a drag or joy and much depends on the kind of relationships you have with your co-workers. In my newest book, The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace, I address one of the key issues in creating a positive work climate:  Namely appreciation.

If you feel appreciated by your supervisor and co-workers, chances are you enjoy going to work. However, if you don’t feel appreciated, work may be simply a means to a paycheck. What Dr. Paul White and I discovered is that people have different ‘appreciation languages’. If you don’t speak their language, they won’t feel appreciated.

For more on changing your work climate visit: