Tuesday, March 5, 2013

What makes you feel appreciated?

A few weeks ago I read (on my Kindle app for my iPad) Gary Chapman and Paul White’s book The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace:  Empowering Organizations by Encouraging People.  This is a companion to an earlier bestselling book titled The Five Love Languages:  The secret to Love That Lasts which sold six million copies in English and has been translated into forty languages around the world. 

In the introduction the book states, “The number one factor in job satisfaction is not the amount of pay but whether or not the individual feels appreciated and valued for the work they do.”  That may sound ludicrous but think of how many times you have heard someone say, “You couldn’t get me to work in ______________ office no matter how much you pay me!”

Chapman and White build on this premise by offering that what makes one person feel appreciated does not make another person feel appreciated.  Then they proceed to lay out suggestions for five different ways that appreciation can be expressed.  They are:

Words of Affirmation – verbally praising the person

Quality Time – giving the person your undivided attention

Acts of Service – providing assistance to one’s colleagues

Tangible Gifts – give a real gift the person values

Physical Touch – appropriate physical touch like a handshake or a pat on the back

The book was written to help managers and leaders know how to motivate employees.  I would submit that the same languages could be used to motivate students.

So how about you?  What makes you feel appreciated?  Let’s see if we can get a little exchange going here.  Click on “comment” at the bottom of this article and post an anonymous story of how someone made you feel appreciated.

-Dr. Jerry Faulkner


  1. It is encouraging when my boss credits me for input on projects to his boss.

  2. Equity and fairness are number 1 with me. Give everyone a fair shake and the same situation first. Then these other forms of appreciation are taken more to heart.
    I am happy to see this sort of discussion on campus. Thanks!

  3. Having been blessed to have many "mentors" model those five ways throughout my career to varying degrees, they have indeed become a part of who I am. I concur with you, Dr. Faulkner, regarding the use of these languages in motivating students because I've seen it in action both as a teacher and now in my current role at VSCC. Thank you for verbalizing the message in such succinct eloquence.

  4. I have read the book on the Five Love Languages. It is interesting to think about expressing gratitude to coworkers using those same concepts. It is great to learn that what means so much to one person is not what another values. The trick is learning what helps each person stay motivated and valued. Thanks for the reminder.

  5. I came to Vol State in the early 1990's as a student when I graduated from high school. My parents and friends encouraged me to go to other schools because I would "have more opportunities at other schools". I chose Vol State despite being encouraged to go elsewhere because of my experiences here as a child. I attended dance recitals, Girl Scout meetings, hanging out in the quad. as my older brother took enrichment classes, 4H speech contests,...it just seemed like Vol State was welcoming to me as a youth growing up in Sumner County. Thus, I have always felt that the college in general gave me quality time. I am now an employee and I hope to create that same welcoming environment for current students and potential students.

  6. Sometimes it is just the little things that make one feel special and appreciated. If we treat the students and coworkers the way we would like to be treated "What a wonderful place this would be" I challenge you to make this your motto

    These five items can indeed make a person feel appreciated and valued. Which ones do you use?