I won’t leave you in suspense, I’ll just tell you what the two words are. “Good job.” Sure, they seem harmless, but they actually imply that what you’ve just accomplished is good enough, that you don’t need to challenge yourself to get any better. Now that sounds more dangerous! Here’s how the words “good job” might be holding you back from success and what to do about it.
They’re not specific
Let’s say your boss or a coworker tells you “good job.” Great, but what are they referring to? You can probably figure out which of your latest projects they mean—it’s most likely the one that was successful or got a lot of attention—but “good job” is rather vague and doesn’t point you in the right direction for future success. Better praise would specify which of your many efforts contributed to the success. What did you do correctly and how can you replicate it? Or, perhaps, what did you do correctly and how can you fix the things that went wrong?
The biggest problem with hearing the phrase “good job” is that you’re not learning anything new. You’re simply being told that what you’ve just done is good enough and you don’t need to challenge yourself anymore. Of course it’s important to pat yourself on the back and celebrate your success, but you can’t get complacent and rest on the same plateau for too long. You have to constantly be learning new skills, learning you’re your mistakes, and challenging yourself to take on more responsibilities and new endeavors.
After you’ve rested and celebrated for a bit, challenge yourself! What’s next to learn? How can you make yourself better? And if you aren’t working in an environment that’s supportive of your professional growth and development, you might want to consider leaving. Find people who don’t constantly tell you “good job”—that empty, meaningless compliment. Find people who’ll promote your positive, healthy growth and challenge you to take on new tasks, learn new skills, and accept big opportunities and responsibilities.
So, when you hear the words “good job” from a boss or colleague, take control of the situation. Ask yourself what specifically they’re referring to. Then, ask yourself what you could have done better and what you learned from the situation. And finally, make a plan for your next project. Be clear about how you’re going to make it better than the last. For more tips on learning and growing and advancing your career, check out our website at https://www.chiefofstaffkc.com.
Blog written by Erin Greenhalgh