Editor's Note: Originally published in 2018, here's a fun look at how to share the love with your team this Valentine's Day. Also, check out the follow-up here for tips on happily collaborating with remote teams.
There are several types of love—love between two partners, a mother’s love for her children, my love for America’s sweetheart Jeff Goldblum, and so on. And while you don’t usually hear the word “love” casually tossed around the workplace, we think it’s worth exploring this Valentine’s Day. After all, research shows a little love can go a long way when it comes to employee happiness.
But before you write your officemate a sonnet, consider The 5 Love Languages—a 1995 book by anthropologist Dr. Gary Chapman that has recently regained popularity. The idea behind the good doctor’s book is simple: People give and receive emotions in different ways. More specifically, they speak different languages when it comes to love, with the five big dialects being: Quality Time, Acts of Service, Words of Affirmation, Receiving Gifts, and Physical Touch.
We all speak a little of each language, but there’s a hierarchy to our fluency. Knowing a person’s primary love language can foster stronger communication and an overall healthier relationship.
Romantic relationships aren’t the only ones that can benefit from this. We looked at the love languages through the lens of your typical e-discovery team and took a guess at which language each type of person speaks best.
If you’re an attorney, you speak Quality Time.
Attorneys will put in the long hours, spending 70+ hours per week on the phone, in the courtroom, or locked in their office pouring over the details of a case to get their clients the best possible outcome. They understand that nothing says “I care” more than good old-fashioned quality time—even if the hours are billable.
Woo the attorney in your life: Sing it or say it, but show your appreciation Aretha Franklin style with a little respect…for their time, that is. Help them get some time back with this super ethical way to make decisions (or even better, some ideas for making review faster).
If you’re a litigation support professional, you’re fluent in Acts of Service.
Dr. Chapman’s description for the “Acts of Service” love language talks an awful lot about vacuuming floors. If you ask nicely enough, maybe your lit support team would be willing to do that, too. For lit support folk, serving their internal clients is priority #1, and they’ll do a lot of the hard work—often without any of the glory—to make sure deadlines are met and the project is a success.
Woo the litigation support person in your life: Remind them how much you value the work they do to make your job easier. You can really flatter them by suggesting they share their e-discovery wisdom and apply to present at Relativity Fest soon!
If you’re a developer, Gifts are your thing.
As someone whose primary love language just happens to be Receiving Gifts, I insist materialism has
nothing very little to do with it. There’s just something about the thoughtfulness and effort behind a good gift—and no one does gifts better than developers (just ask a very sweaty Steve Ballmer). They have the skills to make just about anything an e-discovery project desires, whether it’s a homemade gift, like a custom app, or something store-bought, like from the Relativity App Hub.
Woo the developer in your life: Help them share their gifts by spreading the word about their great work, whether via shout-outs on social media for some free word-of-mouth marketing or even with a nomination for an Innovation Award next month.
If you’re in charge of information security, you’re all about that (totally platonic) Physical Touch.
Dr. Chapman says, “this language isn’t all about the bedroom,” and let me make something clear: for our purposes, the Physical Touch language is not about the bedroom at all—or any other kind of literal physical touch for that matter. We’re speaking in metaphors here, and physical touch cultivates a sense of security that can only be matched by the hands-on efforts and iron-clad polices of your resident security officer.
Woo the security officer in your life: Follow the policies they set out for your organization, and spread the word for others to do the same. Even the small stuff, like having good password hygiene and reporting suspicious emails, can help keep your company’s data safe and your security officer happy.
If you’re an e-discovery service provider, you’re the best at giving Words of Affirmation.
Actions don’t always speak louder than words—so it’s a good thing e-discovery service providers can do both. Whether managing your infrastructure or serving purely as consultants for your e-discovery cloud projects, service providers are the trusted advisors: they’re the ones you can turn to when you need to hear that everything will be a-okay.
Woo the e-discovery service provider in your life: Team up with your service provider to showcase the wins they’ve helped you achieve, and contribute thought leadership to the legal space. They want your success to be heard around the world, and your corroboration of their expertise can help move the needle of innovation by helping to set the bar high.