In Praise of Praise

Well done getting on-line.  Good job landing on the Mudskipper Press webpage.  Great work to be reading this article.  Buy a Mudskipper Press book and my admiration will know no bounds.

Well done; good job; great work: they are phrases, which seem to be increasingly rarely heard in the workplace.  Praise is becoming something of a threatened concept.  Instead, criticism seems to be a more regularly deployed weapon in Management’s terms of engagement.  This is not just a demoralising approach, it is also destructive to productivity, and is perhaps part of the reason why the UK has one of the lowest rates of productivity ranked against its main European rivals.  Let me explain.  In an economy driven by criticism, increased productivity only leads to greater criticism; conversely, inactivity leads to less criticism.  So, what path does a worker take?  The one of least resistance.  No one wants to court criticism.  Less work; less reproach.

The rise of this culture of apathy is not all the fault of Management; the worker must also accept some element of blame.  Part of the problem is that praise has become monetarised.  This trend has been worker-driven.  Rather than simply accept pleasant blandishments for a job well done, workers have demanded financial rewards.  Bonuses.  Fair enough perhaps, except when viewed through Management’s lens these bonuses have invariably been distributed to the least-deserving parties.  ‘Rewards for failure’ is a depressing legacy, which has survived the 2007 Economic Crisis, like cockroaches after a nuclear holocaust.

I am not an advocate of praise for praise’s sake, but a simple ‘well done’ or an encouraging ‘keep at it’ can go a long way.

Praise action; invigorate inertia.  I recognise that I am in danger of aping the sentiments of most #MotivationalMonday messages, which I typically despise, but so be it.

Talking of me.  Do you know the highest praise I receive each day?  It is when I enter my Gmail email account.  It is when I go into the spam folder and I delete all my junk mail.  Up pops the congratulatory message: ‘Hooray, no spam here!”

Praise.  It gives me a warm glow that lasts for the rest of the day.

© Simon Turner-Tree


Simon Turner-Tree basks in the warm glow of his empty spam folder.

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