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The Right Way to use Two Words

Good job.

I had an opportunity to see those words play out in meaningful fashion recently with an executive and one of his folks. Those simple words created momentum and encased the mending spirit of the meeting. The words would not have carried their weight without the timing and perspective this executive gave them at that very moment.

These are two words that require particular attention to use and placement. There is a right and wrong way to use the words good job. More than a decade of research is completed and published which tells us, “Recognition is most effective when it is positive, immediate, close, specific, and shared” – The Carrot Principle

So, how to say good job.

The right way – you connect good job to the story that earned the words ensuring the words are attached to the “why.” Be intimate with the stories that produce a good job in your people.

The wrong way – you hang good job out like good morning, as though it is polite leadership versus meaningful leadership. This frequent but unattached use of good job repeated enough robs these words of their valuable impact. Why even say them if you can’t repeat the story behind them?

The right way – you connect good job that tells this person not just what you recognize he’s done right in in the past but also what he is capable of in the future. The sentence starts out something like this, “Here is why I believe you can do a good job with this…” Sometimes you need to be a believer in your talent to invoke for their belief in each of their hearts.

The wrong way – you dole out good job but it is strictly hero to zero and highly conditional. A good job is earned just like a gold star for doing the chores and never attached to what you truly believe the person is capable of beyond today.

When was the last time you said, good job? Why did it matter?