Jennifer, this is a common issue raised, especially after I speak to a conference. A lot of people say to me, “My boss really needs this book, but I don’t know how to tactfully introduce it to him.”
We have found three different approaches that have been successful. First, go to the free resources section of the website and find an appropriate article that could be used to introduce the languages of appreciation, saying something like, “I saw this article and thought you might find it interesting.” This often leads to at least a further discussion and allows you to share your thoughts.
A second approach is to talk to your boss and say, “I heard about this book that shows you how to encourage your colleagues without spending any money. I don’t know if you are interested, but would you mind if I tried it out with a few of the team members? Then I can tell you if it is worthwhile or not.” Almost always, the supervisor agrees — since there is no cost to them.
Finally, some individuals have just taken it upon themselves to start using the 5 Languages approach, often getting a couple of colleagues to try it with them. After a while, and if the manager happens to see a book or hear talk about the concepts, they have approached the team member and want to find out more. We’ve even had a supervisor say (after initially reporting no interest) “We should use this with every work group!”