Developing a Sense of Appreciation in the Workplaces with Dr. Paul White · ShiftWorkPlace

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Ep113 Developing a Sense of Appreciation in the Workplaces with Dr. Paul White


Appreciation is a crucial element for a healthy work environment.

Bio for Dr. Paul White

Dr. Paul White is a psychologist, author, and speaker who “makes work relationships work.” He has written articles for and been interviewed by BBC News, Business Week, CNN/,, Fast Company, Fortune,, The New York Times, U.S. News & World Report, The Washington Post, and Yahoo!.

Dr. White has taught around the world, including in North America, Europe, South America, Asia, and the Caribbean. His expertise has been sought by companies such as PepsiCo, Microsoft, NASA, L’Oréal, Ritz Carlton, Starbucks, Boeing, HP, ExxonMobil, DIRECTV, and numerous other multinational organizations.

White is the co-author of the best-selling book The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace, which has sold over 550,000 copies. Written with Dr. Gary Chapman, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller The 5 Love Languages, the book has been translated into 25 languages. Based on their extensive research and expertise, Dr. White and Dr. Chapman have developed practical ways for leaders and employees to communicate authentic appreciation, leading to increased employee engagement, lower staff turnover, more positive work environments, and higher profitability.

Additionally, their online assessment, the Motivating by Appreciation Inventory, has been taken by over 350,000 employees worldwide and is available in multiple languages. Cited as a thought leader in developing healthy workplace relationships, his speaking style has been described as “world-class expertise providing practical, easily implemented information with the right touch of humour.”

Episode highlight

Are you a leader seeking to make your workplace a better place? This episode is for you! Dr. Paul White shares some essential nuggets to help you fulfil your desire. His passion lies in motivation by appreciation. He has authored a book and created resources to share his wisdom and knowledge.

Today, he shares his journey to becoming the person he is today, discusses the different languages of appreciation in workplaces, and gives us some golden nuggets on life in general.



  • “When we show interest in other people and open ourselves up to learn even more or be influenced by them, it’s a huge door of opportunity.”


Childhood Memories

Dr. White worked in his father’s factory from junior high school until college. His dad’s motive was to teach him the value of education and training. Through his experience working in the factory, Dr. White knew he didn’t want to work at the end of the conveyor belt later in life. As a child, Dr. White always went fishing with his mother to have a moment of bonding. His mom learned how to fish as a way of creating a special bond with her children.

Cultural and Leadership Influence

In life, having a community and developing relationships is essential for times when crises arise, so at least you will have people who can step up. Dr. White recalls when they had their twin sons in Phoenix away from family. The first two years were not easy for them, and it got as far as sleep deprivation.

Influential Groups

When Dr. Paul and his wife were raising their children, it gave them an opportunity to meet parents of their kids’ friends and develop friendships. Unfortunately, when their lastborn left the local school, there was a vacuum of friendship since there were no activities bringing them together with other people.

Paul’s family had a quaker culture, but time has exposed him to different cultures and religions that have shaped his perception of a sincere follower of Christ. Dr. Paul’s work also exposes him to people from different walks of life, and he can relate to them.

Cultural Epiphanies

Dr. White realized that in a white male decision making group expects respect to be communicated by giving your full attention, listening, and looking them in the eye. In contrast, culturally, both Native Americans and some groups of African Americans view looking a superior in the eye as disrespectful.

Dr. White recalls a time when he was working in residential treatment for out-of-control adolescent Black and Mexican American teens. He had to work hard to ensure he interpreted the cultures correctly. For instance, there were times when he would misread the non-verbal cues and pushing them to talk at that point in time was like lighting the fuse of a bomb.

Personality and Temperaments

Paul describes himself as a social animal. He is socially outgoing, fairly spontaneous, flexible, and loves to have fun. 

Impulse control is one characteristic that Dr. Paul has grown and continues to grow. He can be spontaneous, but he is learning that there are times to slow down, think through things clearly, not react as much, and be more thoughtful and listen.

What Brings Out the Best in Dr. White?

Dr. Paul enjoys some structure but also appreciates opportunities to think on his feet and give answers from his life and brain. Recently, he spoke to a group of 30 to 40 business leaders in New York City, and it was a half-day interactive training. They really challenged him and asked thoughtful questions that made him stop, think, clarify, share thoughts, and pull information together.

Soapbox Moment

Dr. Paul invites us to check out the resources and materials they have created on their website. The resources will help you build a healthy team and organization the right way.


Dr. Paul White has led an interesting life as a social worker and psychologist looking to meet needs in the community as a result of the question his father would ask the family every night at dinner. His dad would ask, “What need did you see today that you might be able to help with?” Paul chose to put himself into a variety of life situations where he would not be comfortable so he could better understand people’s needs. One of those situations required him to restrain his naturally outgoing and gregarious nature to hear what others had to say and learn as an observer. With insights and the skills of analysis and synthesis, Dr. White developed a practical workplace book, The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace, co-written with Dr. Gary Chapman. You might like to take his Appreciation Inventory, which you can find out about on his website or just by typing the name of the inventory into your browser.

Some takeaways I have from this episode are:

  1. Working in different countries and with populations different from your own can teach you to be more interculturally aware.
  2. Looking for needs around you that you can address, helps you to develop both altruism and career skills.
  3. Collaborating with another author will widen your analysis and synthesis insights.

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