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Applying love to leadership

Welcome to Love Mondays, a weekly newsletter designed as a 3-minute hit to fire up the other 10,077 minutes of your week.

When I grabbed my copy of The Five Love Languages at the airport after hearing Gary Chapman speak, I found myself piecing together a whole new world of uncommunicated emotion. The idea that there are five distinct ‘love languages’ may not immediately seem useful in the business setting, until we contextualise the current battle to retain talent, the need to lead with empathy, and the loyalty gained when people know and feel that they matter and are appreciated*.

How do you show people in your world that you appreciate them?

Write it down.

*Let it be known that while I appreciate all of you incredibly, I was apparently loving last Monday too much to send out the newsletter! 🤦🏽‍♀️ My sincere apologies.

Consider: how do those you work with show their appreciation for you?

Practice: mirroring the way they communicate appreciation back to them, do they recognise your gratitude more readily?

Decide to: figure out the language of appreciation for people in your life, and list them down in your notebook, diary or phone.

The love languages of leadership

Gary Chapman asserts that different people, with different personalities, give and receive love in different ways. Everyone has a primary love language or two, meaning a category of behaviours that they most immediately associate with affection, respect and appreciation. The five love languages are: quality time; physical touch; acts of service; giving and receiving gifts, and; words of affirmation.

Let’s be clear, this is not about you, but about how you reinforce your care, respect and commitment for the people in your world. Be it partners in life or partners in business, to thrive in a long-term relationship we have to be able to discern and adapt to the love language of the person we’re engaging with. Do you show your team you appreciate them in the way they respond to being appreciated?

[i] Chapman, G. D., The Five Love Languages: How To Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate, Northfield Pub., Chicago, IL, 1995.

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