Speak Their Language

My wife and I take walks during the week. It’s hard since we both work full-time jobs, but it’s an investment we make time for as often as we can.  During our walks, we cover a wide range of topics from money, to in-laws, to you-name-it. Today, we hit heads and identified some key areas that we both struggle with. In order to work through those things, we’ve determined that we need to speak the other’s language, and speak it well.

This concept comes from Dr. Gary Chapman’s book, “The 5 Love Languages.” My language is Words of Affirmation and my wife’s is Quality Time. Neither of us naturally speak the other’s language. We have to really work at it.

That started me thinking. What if we knew what “language” our teammates best respond to? Obviously the same concepts from marriage don’t universally apply in the workplace, but we each do respond differently to affirmation, coaching, and other types of feedback. What if we spent a little time (“invested” if you will) learning the personality types of our teammates, watching how they respond to varying types of feedback, and then tailored our approach in order to build them up as a fellow team member?

I invite you to check out Dr. Chapman’s “Appreciation at Work,” particularly the “Learn” page. There are a lot of free tools you can incorporate into your daily work to speak your coworkers language.

For me, this is what becoming better is about: I become better by helping others become better. Speaking their language may be just the ticket.


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About the Author:

Ryan Wallace is an associate who serves public and middle market clients. He joined us in 2014, and hit the ground running—embracing his role in building the Wise Firm.  He has a heart for service, a talent for graphic design, and love for camping.

Topics: Teamwork, Feedback, Belonging

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