are we supposed to accept “touch” as an “appreciation language” at work? — Ask a Manager

here are the 10 best questions to ask your job interviewer — Ask a Manager

update: are we supposed to accept “touch” as an “appreciation language” at work?

Remember last week’s letter-writer whose company was doing a session on the “five languages of appreciation in the workplace” which for some inexplicable reason included “touch”? Here’s the update.

The meeting came and went, so I thought I’d update you. Our team is hybrid with some people fully remote, so the meeting was fortunately not in-person. There are fewer than 20 of us on the team.

The person leading the five appreciation languages was the head of another team in our division, so most of us knew her but hadn’t worked with her before. She began by talking about how much she loves the framework and it’s her favorite, and that the relationship one is also amazing, and then moved into explaining the five languages. For each one, she asked us to comment in the chat if we thought it as one of our languages. People were very active for the first four.

Then she got to “Touch” and she quickly said that she knew some people might be intimidated to say it was one of their appreciation languages, so she would pipe up first about it being an important one to her in order to break the ice. There was continued silence. Hoping to draw out fellow “Touch” people, she started telling us that at her last workplace people were very into hugging and back pats, but here it seems like more of a handshake/fist bump place, and that made her kinda sad. Still silence from all of us. She decided to interpret that as people not feeling comfortable to admit to Touch being their language, but then mercifully moved on to some exercises around the other four languages.

The training was somewhat useful–I learned some valuable insights into how various coworkers like to get words of appreciation (some in public, others not, some with lots of detail, others with just a simple “thank you”). And I also now feel confident that even if one of my coworkers really was hiding their preference for touch (which I doubt), no one in my office thinks touching is an appropriate way to show appreciation in the workplace.

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