I love good discussions with interesting colleagues. My work schedule is much like an individual contributor with limited exposure to fellow coworkers. I’m thankful I don’t have to deal with office politics and gossip. However, I miss not having someone to bounce ideas off of or to get perspective from on a challenging situation. Sometimes I feel isolated. I want more opportunities to connect with my peers.
In this blog we will be exploring Language #2: Quality Time. This series is based on Gary Chapman & Paul White’s book, “The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace.” The book defines “Quality Time” as giving someone your focused personal attention.
Dialects of Quality Time:
- Quality Conversation. Uninterrupted time to share thoughts and feelings. The goal is to understand using empathetic listening. For example, when I need to vent about a frustrating person, I need my coworker to listen and be supportive. In the process of talking it out, she can help me see an underlying issue that is deeper than the immediate situation.
- Shared Experiences. Some people don’t want to talk. They want to be invited along. For example, being asked to join a few conference attendees for lunch can be meaningful, especially for shy people.
- Small Group Dialogue. Managers can have a “listening session” that allows for bonding while sharing ideas for improvements. For example, I love getting together with colleagues to listen to their best practices and brainstorm ideas that will make our classes more engaging. When our supervisor is interested in listening to our creative strategies, my colleagues and I share valuable content together.
- Close Physical Proximity with Coworkers in Accomplishing a Project. A volunteer experience that is meaningful and valued by others. For example, if a coworker is leaving on maternity leave, putting together a baby shower luncheon can make someone feel bonded.
One distinction that the book makes is how important it is to know your Language of Appreciation AND to find out what specific behaviors resonates with you. What is most meaningful to an individual will differ based on who the appreciation is from: subordinate, peer, or supervisor. I took the MBA Inventory assessment online when I bought the book. I received a personalized report of specific actions I need to feel appreciated. The report allows me to effectively communicate, “this is what I need.”
- Social Invites: Ask her to do something with you (lunch or coffee)
- Casual Check-ins. Stop by and see “how she is doing”
- One-on-One: Spend time individually
- Resist Distractions: Give her their full and undivided attention.
- Listen: Try to understand her concerns, let her vent.
Sometimes workplaces throw big holiday or birthday parties to bring everyone together. As a Quality-Time person, this does not excite me. I strategically position myself in a quieter area to have deeper conversations off to the side of the room. I’m not interested in superficial chit-chat. I want a pulse on what is really going on with people and the exciting projects they are working on. My office buddy and I have one-on-one conversations about curriculum design and higher level learning strategies. I love listening to his perspective and sharing my organizational tools that I continuously refine. After our weekly professional development discussion, I leave feeling connected and appreciated at work.
Appreciation in Action Challenge: Two colleagues. Take one to coffee to brainstorm business issues. Take another to lunch to celebrate his/her birthday or an accomplishment. Observe how they respond to your focused undivided attention.
1. Take the assessment to find out what specifically YOU need to feel appreciated. ($15 or free with purchased book). There are specialty assessments for school, medical, non-profit/ministry, military, and long-distance.
2. Buy: The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace (book)
3. Learn more by watching videos