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Appreciation Vs. Participation Trophies

WARNING: I am about to start a mini-rant. Stop reading now if it will be triggering.

One of my hot button issues is the way people my age and older insult the younger generation by calling them soft, or snowflakes, or needing participation trophies. Every time I hear that I think a little less of the person who says it.

I'll avoid the longer rant and focus on only one part of it - the participation trophy concept. What is believed is that the younger generation was taught they deserve a reward simply for participating, not for accomplishing anything. It wasn't only the winners who got trophies, everyone got one simply for being there. The belief is that this made the younger generation soft.

Managers in particular use this as justification for not showing appreciation. How many have heard a manager say "it's their job" when you say you should compliment someone? I hear it all the time and it drives me crazy. I want to scream "you idiot, when did thank you or a compliment become a bad thing?" Seriously, when did saying "good job" become a negative? When I argue with managers (mostly older), they will say things about the younger generation always needing praise and a pat on the back. Almost always, I will get some comment that they didn't get that when they were a young employee because it was just part of the job.

In other words - they didn't get it, so no one needs it. This is one of the worst justifications for behavior I have ever heard.

If you are a manager, your job is to get results and build great teams. If praise and participation trophies help you meet those two goals - do them and do them often! Just realize that most people don't require them to perform, but it may get them to perform better.

It's that simple. Quit complaining about the younger generation and just start focusing on your job as it is today. When you do, I'll compliment you and give you a trophy.

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