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Book Summary on The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace

Updated: Jan 22

In today's executive book summary we take a look at The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace by Gary Chapman and Paul White.


Book Overview

In this book the general focus is on showcasing what the 5 languages of appreciation are to leaders within an organization, explaining why they are crucial for retaining motivated employees, and demonstrating how to effectively implement them in the workplace.


The contents of the book can generally be separated into four main sections:

  1. Chapters 1 to 2

    1. These chapters explain how showcasing consistent appreciation is an investment in your business.

  2. Chapters 3 to 8

    1. These chapters explain the meaning behind each language and why it is important to discover a person's most preferred and least preferred language.

  3. Chapters 9 to 14

    1. These chapters focus on the implementation of each language within the workplace as well as showcasing some common mistakes and questions that arise when using them.

  4. Chapter 15

    1. This chapter provides you with an MBA Inventory Code that you can use to help identify your top two preferred languages along with your least preferred language as well as accompanying action steps for starting to show appreciation with the languages.


10 Notable Quotes & Highlights

Below is a collection of various quotes from the book that help give a taste of what you can expect when reading through it.

  • (On Page 22)

    • Next to physical survival, the greatest need of a human being is psychological survival, to be understood, to be affirmed, to be validated, to be appreciated.

  • (On Page 23)

    • Recognition is largely about behavior. “Catch them doing what you want and recognize it,” the books say. Appreciation, conversely, focuses on performance plus the employee’s value as a person Recognition is about improving performance and focuses on what is good for the company. Appreciation emphasizes what is good for the company and good for the person.

  • (On Page 27)

    • The single highest driver of engagement, according to a worldwide survey conducted by Towers Watson, is whether or not workers feel their managers are genuinely interested in their wellbeing.

  • (On Page 34)

    • Belief: Most managers (89 percent) believe employees leave for more money, while only 11 percent of managers believe employees leave for other reasons. Fact: However, in reality, only 12 percent of employees reported leaving for more money, while 88 percent of employees state they leave for reasons other than money.

  • (On Page 41)

    • [High] employee engagement has been shown to impact customer satisfaction.

  • (On Page 109)

    • Here is a fact that can save you a lot of time and emotional energy, if you are willing to accept it: a person’s lowest language of appreciation really is not important to them.

  • (On Page 117)

    • It is true that rewards do tend to motivate those who receive them to continue their high level of performance. However, they are less effective in motivating those who do not receive the reward. On the other hand, appreciation, when expressed in the primary appreciation language of the individual, tends to motivate each team member to reach his or her potential.

  • (On Page 163)

    • The question is not, “Do you appreciate your coworkers?” The real question is, “Do they feel appreciated?”

  • (On Page 186)

    • In fact, we openly encourage supervisors not to attempt communicating appreciation if they truly do not appreciate the team member. Going through the motions of communicating appreciation when there is not a genuine basis for it will do real harm to the relationship between the supervisor and the team member.

  • (On Page 190)

    • The most effective communication of appreciation and encouragement occurs when the message is sent in the language of appreciation most valued by the receiver.



Analysis & Our Recommendations

Before reading this book, we highly recommend that you use the included MBA Inventory code to identify your primary, secondary, and least preferred languages of appreciation. The process for utilizing the code doesn't take too much time and is a great insight into which languages to focus your attention on as you read through the book.


Once you finish identifying your languages, we recommend that you skip forward to Chapters 3-8 and read through your primary and secondary languages. This will help with more easily digesting the material as it guides you through languages that should be motivating for you and provide a basis for how to explain the concept to other people within the workplace. Don't forget to also take a peek at your least preferred language when you have the time.


Afterward reading through the rest of the book highly depends on what aspects would appeal to you. For example, if you are unconvinced about how showing appreciation can lead to financial gains within your business then read through Chapters 1 and 2 which highlight some of the studies and statistics that back up its position. On the other hand, if you are struggling with implementing a language of appreciation at your workplace, then focus on reading through Chapters 9-14 to get the most useful tips on doing so.


Overall, the main concept to keep in mind while reading the book is that learning and using these languages of appreciation takes consistent, intentional, and authentic effort. It won't be an effective use of your time if all you gain from the book is knowledge. You have to actively showcase appreciation



to start seeing a tangible impact where you work.


Implementing the Book Within Your Business

  • Take time to identify which managers, supervisors, and leaders within your business lead the most people.

  • Organize a meeting with these individuals to introduce the concept of showing appreciation and explain how it will lead to improved productivity and retention among employees.

  • During the meeting look to see which leaders are the most engaged with the idea and provide them with a copy of the book to start reading through.

  • Position these engaged leaders to lead the efforts in implementing personalized appreciation with a few of their direct reports and ensure they are keeping track of how they are showing appreciation. This is done so you can differentiate between which languages of appreciation work best for each employee.

  • As they build up the habit of showing appreciation for their direct reports, have them begin to expand the number of employees they show appreciation to and have them encourage others to follow their lead.

  • Ideally, as this process goes on and more people begin to use the languages and over time people will naturally show appreciation without needing any direct prompting or guidance.

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