Telling someone on your team that they did a “good job” is meaningless.
Do you want to know why? I believe the answer is in found in criticism.
You see… encouragement is often generalized while criticism is ALWAYS specific.
You’ve experienced this when you’ve been criticized. “He’s obviously not very smart” or “He does this weird thing with his hands that bug me.”
Especially if you’re a woman, you may have heard something awful like, “I don’t like the way she dresses” or “Her voice is like nails.”
It’s so specific, it hurts. Even if it’s not true… it’s so specific… and especially with the way keyboard warriors have been emboldened nowadays, it can be incredibly vile.
On the flip side, when it comes to encouragement, we say things like, “Good job” or “Keep it up!”
Here’s the problem… WHAT part of it is good? WHAT is the “it” I should keep up?
We aren’t SPECIFIC enough to provide meaningful value and encouragement. Criticism comes in paragraphs while encouragement is done in passing.
We need to find opportunities to address the positives as thorougly or even moreso than we address the negatives.
I applied this when talking with one of our web designers at Lemonade Stand this week. Instead of “Good job!” I said, “I love the way you added these colors here; and this custom illustration to match the client’s brand is SO smart. I can tell you were very intentional on this and took your time to make them happy.”
Heck, let’s not stop there… apply it toward your personal life! My wife got dressed up the other night and I didn’t just say, “You look nice.” I took the time to explain exactly what I liked: “Your eyes look really beautiful tonight. You did a great job with your makeup — it makes you look classy and still sexy.”
Let me tell you… the outcome of that conversation was a lot better than if I said, “You look good.” #comeonsomebody
The point is this: “Good job” isn’t bad — it’s just not good enough.
As leaders, team members, husbands, wives, let’s be more SPECIFIC and thorough in our encouragement than we are in our criticisms… our people need to hear it!