The average worker in the US spends 1801 hours at work per year. When you’re spending so much time in the company of your colleagues, it’s pretty important that you get along well.
But sometimes that’s easier said than done.
If you want to help your team build closer relationships and create a more collaborative, supportive work environment, then you need to know what makes every individual tick.
By now you’ve probably heard of Gary Chapman’s love languages in romantic relationships, but the truth is, they can also be really important at work, too. Truity has identified seven modern love styles, and knowing the love styles of your team can give you a roadmap for building stronger connections, fostering better communication and showing support for your team in different ways.
Love styles aren’t just for romantic relationships. They can be used throughout your work and personal life to bring people closer together.
Here are 5 ways you can use love styles at work and the top benefits.
1. Boost communication
In every team, there will be barriers to communication that stop a message from getting across. Left unchecked, these barriers can quickly cause distance and conflict.
When you appreciate the different love styles of your team, you can recognize and address these communication issues before they get out of hand. For example, your colleague who has a Practical love style and is feeling under pressure will be looking for people to help pitch in with tasks and share their burden. On the flip side, someone with an Emotional love style might not want any practical help at all. What they want is for their colleagues to sympathize with their stress and listen to their problems.
When you know the different love styles of your team, you can better understand the intricacies of each other’s needs and preferences – and what you can do to be there for them. That might mean listening, sharing some of the pressure or just giving a thoughtful gift like a cookie.
2. Improve collaboration
For a team to work effectively they need to be good at collaborating. Understanding the love style of every individual in your team can be a really effective way to boost collaboration across the board.
For example, team members with an Intellectual love style will be really open to brainstorming and strategy discussions if you give them the opportunity. People with the Activity love style, on the other hand, will thrive in an environment that incorporates team-building exercises and role play into your meetings and brainstorming sessions.
By appreciating one another’s strengths - from gift-giving to intellect to emotional intelligence - you can also work more effectively as a team and encourage more cooperation. If you can create this kind of environment at work, your team will be unstoppable.
3. Show support during challenging times
Regardless of your workplace, you will undoubtedly go through challenging and difficult times with your team. In some professions – like medicine and emergency services – this will be a part of daily life.
When you’re having a tough day, you need someone on your team who will support you. When you’re up against it, knowing one another’s love styles can help you to show support to one another when you need it most. That might be emotional support, verbal appreciation or maybe a hug, or a coworker spending time with you over lunch. What matters is that it’s in the love style that each individual will understand.
If you know what love styles your colleagues respond to best, you can support them in a more meaningful way, and they can do the same for you.
4. Provide feedback and praise
Learning the love styles of your team can also help you to deliver feedback and praise in a more meaningful way. If you can understand the love styles of each person in your team, you can tailor your management style to their needs.
For example, someone with an Intellectual love style will usually respond best to praise and feedback that focuses on their intellectual ability. They will value you asking for their opinion and making the time to discuss important issues with them.
On the flip side, someone with a Physical love style will probably respond best to a supportive gesture like a pat on the back, a high five or a handshake, as long as they’re comfortable with this kind of interaction in a workplace setting.
5. Increase employee retention
For managers and employers, understanding love styles in the workplace can also help you increase employee retention. The seven love styles provide an insight into what matters most to people and how they want to be treated both in their personal lives and at work.
If you can incorporate the theory of love styles in your management style – in all the ways discussed above – you can improve employee wellbeing at work and increase retention. By speaking to your employees in the love style that they understand, you can show them they are appreciated, supported and valued members of your team.
How to use love styles in the workplace
Now you know how the love styles can help you succeed in the workplace, how do you get started?
Take the test
To bring love styles into the workplace, start by asking your team to take the Truity love styles test. Research shows there are seven different ways of showing love and support to one another and the quiz will reveal which categories you and your colleagues fit into.
Collect the results
When your team has had a chance to take the love styles test, you can gather the results and see who matches up with which love style. This gives you a chance to identify trends across your team, like which love languages are the most pervasive, as well as the weighting of different love styles you have in your workplace.
Start a discussion
Use the love styles test as a way to open up a discussion with your team about how they want to be supported at work and what they feel needs to change in your organization. The love styles test can be a way to open up a wider conversation about your workplace culture and how you look out for one-another, including communication, collaboration and feedback.
Take the test today to start using love styles in the workplace.