Starbucks giftcard

The dreaded ‘good job’.

I’ve been managing people since 2011. While working in higher education, during my time with Emmis Communications overseeing radio promotions, at the City of Fishers while on the public relations team, and most recently as the director of public relations in an agency setting. And while leading my teams, I’ve learned one very important thing—there can be big downfalls to saying good job.

This isn’t to say that recognition in the workplace doesn’t go a very long way, it’s imperative that employees feel both empowered and appreciated. But constantly peppering your team with good job is an effective way to squash morale, make your team feel overlooked, and often, build feelings of resentment in those you manage.

Years ago, I worked alongside a lovely professional, and I always heard good job. The first handful of times, I really appreciated those words. But as projects progressed and complexities arose, good job started to feel simple, stale, and eventually, inauthentic—and to be honest, I never forgot how good job made me feel. So, as management opportunities have presented themselves throughout my career, I’ve opted to go beyond good job.

From managing a team of nearly 40 part-time employees across four of Indy’s largest and then highest-ranked radio stations to managing a small team of two in my current role, I’ve always tried to find more colorful ways to recognize work. Sometimes that’s a handwritten note of thanks when they’ve gone above and beyond to meet a deadline. Others, it’s a text message when they’ve really shined in a client meeting. And for really big wins, I’ve been known to plant a gift card for them to grab a cup of coffee on me. But let’s be clear, it’s not about the gestures.

Complimenting your team means noticing and commenting when they think no one’s looking. When they’re working long hours, pushing to learn a new skill, or working to gain the trust of a new client—it’s imperative that they know and feel their hard work is being seen and authentically appreciated.

There’s no one way to say—or not say! good job. Comment below and let me know how you’re working to champion the superstars on your team.

Image courtesy of Starbucks via Google Images. 

One thought on “The dreaded ‘good job’.

  1. Nora Wise says:

    For some reason, food and money motivate folks to work above and beyond what is expected. Maybe each team member could let others know that random acts of kindness that are not so obvious will always be appreciated – or not. Does anyone who does a “good job” receive individual recognition in the form of sharing with the team in an open forum just exactly what it was that deserved the special reward? Some employees might think, “Hey, I could do that, too!” Does anyone get to leave work early one day a week? Have a special spot in the parking lot?


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