What’s Your Boss’ Love Language? 4 Ways to Motivate Others at Work

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Ryan Kauth, Director of the Small Business Development Center

Ryan Kauth, director of the Small Business Development Center, talked to Nicole Virant’s Supervisory Management class of business degree students and criminal justice program students about motivation and communication as it applies in business.

Motivation in the workplace can be a challenging issue, especially when you don’t know exactly what motivates each employee. Some employees appreciate BBQs while others might prefer help finishing their latest report.

Kauth’s presentation at Globe University-Green Bay was informative and intriguing as he tied together different theories to relate back to the topic. He talked about Gary Chapman’s Five Love Languages and asked, “Do you know what motivates you? Or even better, do you know what motivates your boss?”

Contrary to popular belief, money is not a motivator, but the capabilities that money affords, such as vacations or a newer car, are motivators.

Kauth focused on four of the love languages and how you can apply them at work:

  1. Words of affirmation: Leave a hand-written card for an employee thanking them for specific actions or send out an email to the department recognizing the employee for an achievement.
  2. Acts of service: Help a coworker finish a project.
  3. Quality time: Spend 15 minutes without interruptions to actually listen to an employee.
  4. Gifts: Purchase a favorite type of candy as a surprise.

business degreeConsidering the many of us belong to some form or rewards program and carry around a special card to swipe at every purchase, Kauth asked students to pull out their key rings to talk about customer loyalty programs, what works and what doesn’t work.

The point of customer reward programs is to get the customer back in the door to purchase something. Many students said they would rather get an email with a coupon rather than an email thanking them for purchasing an item at a store.

Kauth was asked, “How do you know what love language to use for your supervisor?”

His response, “Trial and error; see what works and what doesn’t work.”

Business students and criminal justice students took away many learning objectives from Kauth’s presentation, such as knowing how to apply motivation principles at work and understanding how to boost positive morale in the workplace.