Merge's Blog

Praising employees who are in their 40s and 50s – is it necessary?

KarlMooreI often blog about the value of praising employees (one such post is Frequent and liberal employee recognition and praise creates positive workplaces). So when Dr. Karl Moore, associate professor at the Destautels Faculty of Management at McGill University (and my fellow columnist at The Globe & Mail) recently wrote a piece on this topic, it captured my attention. Why do people in their 40s and 50s receive less praise? published in the Leadership Lab a couple of weeks ago, and in it, Dr. Moore makes four key points.

  1. With age often comes experience. And generally speaking, as people become increasingly good at their jobs, the praise slows. The reason: because there is an expectation of top-notch performance, it doesn’t seem to warrant praise as much as that which is unexpected (say perhaps what we might observe in younger inexperienced staff).
  2. Those who are older and more experienced tend to encourage and cheer on more junior colleagues, but are less apt to praise more senior co-workers.
  3. This disparity can be psychologically frustrating. But it shouldn’t be. This quieting of praise is still a compliment – “You are very good at what you do, you have been for a while now and we expect nothing less than excellence from you.”
  4. He closes with a word of advice to those who manage 40- and 50-somethings – take the time to offer praise; they miss it!

Well, what do you think? Does Dr. Moore have it right? Share your perspective below and please do tell us whether you’re in the 40 to 50-something demographic.

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