Ahead of Valentine’s Day, it’s a good time to think about the love languages of your colleagues/staff. This is always important to think about, but it feels more important with the low morale, stress of Covid & handing out test kits, and winter blahs; I want to ensure that my staff feel appreciated and supported as much as possible. Below is my riff on the five long languages as they apply to working in the library.
- Buy Their Love (Gifts):
- This type of staff member or colleague appreciates the sugar rush of donuts, chocolate anything, or even some muffins/bagels, if you must. I am always happy to do a donut run (and get one for myself) to say thanks to staff! There is nothing like the rush of free food!
- Thanks, thanks, and more thanks! (Words of Affirmation)
- Probably the easiest, and yet maybe most underrated way of showing appreciation. Just say, thanks! Beyond that, I think it’s important to share compliments from patrons, other staff, admin, etc with staff in real time. As a manager, I always try to save those compliments as notes for reviews– but in the moment, I like to share with staff right away. It shows them that people see their effort and work and took time to share that with their manager, and they can feel that appreciation.
- The Follow Through (Acts of Service)
- Another underrated way of showing appreciation to staff/colleagues is the act of service of following through on promises, work load, and processes. Let’s face, it in libraries some people feel the most appreciation when work gets done! We have lots of fastidious people who love to see all the dots connect and the process come to completion. They feel happiest when things are running as they should. It’s a rare thing in the library world, but when you can help in that process, it can create a warm feeling for our more scrupulous staff.
- Cheerleading! You got this! (Quality Time)
- We can easily overlook work platitudes, but what can make someone feel appreciated is having someone who cheers them on and supports their career growth. There is something special about the quality time that a mentor/manager/colleague can employ to help you grow. It’s important to feel that someone is invested in your growth as a person, especially someone who can support the nurture and foster of your career.
- Connection to the Bigger Picture (Touch- Connection)
- For the majority of people that come to work in libraries, there is a sense of purpose. People tend to work in public service for many reasons, but usually people want to help other people, make a difference in their community, or may like working with people. However, working for a library is a super draining and hard job. If you don’t feel that the work you are doing is connecting to the community, your library, or your library system; it can make the work feel desolate. For some people, this can be the most important thing for them to feel appreciated, to know that their work connects to the larger picture.
How did I do? Are there any other ways that you are shown your appreciation at work? What way do you wish you were shown appreciation? Let me know in the comments!