The Power of Telling Someone “Good Job”

I believe that people inherently want to do a good job, a really good job. As managers this is sometimes difficult to remember.  We want the best from our people so we tend to pay more attention to development rather than achievement.

On a recent trip to Atlanta, one of my sales reps ran several great meetings. He was elated which was normal, but he also had a look of RELIEF on his face. He had a tough couple of months in a row and probably received 99% “constructive” feedback from me over this time. Had I done a good job of letting him know that I recognized his hard work and small wins during his slump, he probably could have avoided a few anxious nights at home, been more confident at work, and busted out of his slump earlier.

Coincidentally, on the same trip, a former colleague forwarded me an email from her boss congratulating her on what a great job she was doing. Funny thing is that just the day before she expressed concern that that she wasn’t sure if her boss had faith in her. Again, relief instead of pure elation.

A few lessons to remember:

  1. Don’t forget that your people want to do well. Before getting frustrated with someone remind yourself of that, and then decide how to provide constructive feedback.
  2. When someone does something well, tell them that you notice. If you’re like me and you get caught up going 110 MPH, then actually block out some time during the week to reflect on positive contributions your team has made over the week
  3. Don’t overdo it. If you are slapping people on the back every 2 seconds then your positive feedback becomes diluted and even meaningless.