Is ‘good job’ a destructive phrase for employees?

In the Oscar-nominated film ‘Whiplash,’ a strict mentor decries the use of faint praise for an aspiring musician—but most employees thrive on positive feedback. Here’s a smart approach.

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Whiplash” involves a relentlessly cruel bandleader who takes extreme measures to encourage (or crush, perhaps—it’s hard to tell—therein lies the brilliance of the film) the hopes of a young musician aspiring to become a jazz great.

The movie looks at how far people will go to achieve their dreams, as well as the motives of those who help shape those dreams.

‘Good job’ vs ‘not good enough’

In one of his misguided motivational attempts, the bandleader declares to the student, “The two most harmful words in the English language are ‘good job.'”

I envisioned talent management professionals in cinemas the world over gasping in reaction to the blasphemy. The leader’s point is that these words imply “good enough” and only thwart any extra dedication to doing what it takes to achieve a goal.

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