According to a new workplace poll from Harris Interactive and Adecco (surveying 1,455 workers), men 18-34 are more likely than women to need to extra thanks from the boss in order to be productive. Apparently, guys older than that don't need outside praise that much.
For example, as blogger Kris Dunn points out, it's kind of hard to imagine thanking your grandfather for a "job well done." (They don't call them the Greatest Generation for nothing.)
I think everyone needs praise whether they think they do or not. Outside validation is good. But I do think maybe men are more externally motivated than women. And I talk only from experience as to what goes on in my house.
Here's a case in point: About a year ago, my husband decided to temporarily redirect his focus from cars and computers and building and inventing to try his hand at cooking. What resulted was a recipe for some really great chili. And that's all that resulted. He didn't move on to casseroles or soufflés or zesty side dishes. In his mind, his work was done. He was the King of Chili.
We now dine on said chili at least once a week. And each time we do, my son and I must carry on like it's the first time we've experienced the rapture that only that meal can evoke. He asks every time, "How's the chili?" knowing full well that it's good and that's what we'll say.
Now, the other 313 days of the year, I cook. Those are 313 days without comment from the family, except for the occasional global comment like "You're a good cook!" But I know I'm a good cook so I don't really need the reaffirmation.
Chili Man, on the other hand, must have the compliments.
Maybe this need for external affirmation is a carryover from the days of the hunter/gatherers who were greeted happily by the family when they came home with an animal carcass slung over their shoulders.
Nobody ever thanked the cavewoman for cooking up that meat or keeping the little cave-babies warm. The most she could hope for was not to hear any "Aw mom, poached pterodactyl again?"
So come clean. Let me have it. I want to hear from both sexes. Do you think, on average, men are more externally motivated than women?
Toni Bowers is the former Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.