People will be more engaged and motivated when you discover their “love languages,” writes Lolly Daskal, such as time with the boss, compensation that makes them feel valued and advancement opportunities. “Work to discover the language of your team members, and in return they’ll do great things,” she writes.



At the beginning of my career as a leadership coach, I became curious about what makes some teams better than others—why some teams facing significant challenges outperform those with more advantages.

After decades of experience with every imaginable type of leader and team, I think I know the secret of those successful teams: their leaders act in ways that meet each person’s individual emotional needs.Gary Chapman’s 1992 book The Five Love Languages introduced the idea of love languages—actions tailored to your partner’s specific emotional makeup. Successful leadership requires a similar approach.

If you want people to thrive and excel, you have to figure out what motivates them. When you understand the makeup of your team members, you’ll know what actions you can take to help them succeed. Here are six of the most common employee languages:

Quality time. Some people thrive on spending time with their boss. They love talking through processes and procedures, and they find one-on-one time stimulating rather than stressful. Making time for these people on a regular basis helps them feel appreciated and secure.

A supporting hand. Many people prefer to do things on their own with no help, but others work best as part a team. They enjoy being part of a community of peers working together and supporting one another. Group these collaborative-minded people with others who feel the same way and they’ll thrive.