Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The Language of Christmas Gifting

What’s an appropriate gift for board members to give their CEOs at Christmas? Should the CEO thank the board chair with a special Christmas gift? What kind of gift would all board members appreciate?

Caution! One size doesn’t fit all!

A few years ago, while facilitating a “360 annual review” of a ministry’s CEO, I asked the executive committee, “What is your CEO’s love language?”

You’ve probably read Gary Chapman’s bestselling book, The 5 Love Languages (more than 11 million copies sold). He reminds us that one size doesn’t fit all when he describes the five love languages:
     Receiving Gifts
     Acts of Service
     Words of Affirmation
     Physical Touch
     Quality Time
The problem: we tend to love others in the language we prefer. So if my love language is “Receiving Gifts,” I erroneously assume that my spouse, my grandkids—and fellow board members—all prefer receiving gifts, instead of (for example) acts of service. Wrong!

Back to my story…the executive committee had a helpful discussion on their CEO’s preferred love language—and it heightened their awareness of how to bless their leader.

Likewise, CEOs must become students of their board chairs and their board members. One generic Christmas gift—one love language—won’t cut it. Thoughtful gifts take time and creativity.

Boards Chairs and Board Members: for more on this, read “Nice Farewell Dinner, But Where’s My Plaque?” about a well-meaning board that didn’t know their CEO’s love language.

CEOs: for a creative way to express appreciation, read “Forget the Plaques!” about a very meaningful gift given to a retiring board chair.

I hope you will receive at least one Christmas gift this year in your preferred love language! And this reminder: the Gospels are filled with creative and amazing ways Jesus customized his message in the love language of every person he met. Amazing encounters!

QUESTION: At your next board meeting, ask each board member, “What is your love language?”

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