SPOILER ALERT: Where “Whiplash” Went Wrong

March 31, 2015
| ByMike Ryan

J.K. Simmons won an Oscar for his portrayal of a negative band conductor in the movie Whiplash. I saw the flick last weekend and have no complaints there. His performance was first rate.

I did, however, have a problem with one of the final scenes; the one where he says that the two most harmful words in the English language are “good job.”

I guess we need to consider the source. His character relies on fear and insults to “motivate” his students. He uses the stick, not the carrot. He threatens, ridicules, and positions the potential loss of a musician’s job as motivators.

The use of the fear factor is still prevalent in some businesses where misguided bosses tell their employees they are “lucky to have jobs.” They would never think of acknowledging an employee’s effort or recognizing their contributions. They don’t think saying “good job” serves any positive purpose. They are the ones that can’t keep good people.

Recognition is all about encouragement. It helps people see their potential and rewards them as they get better. Your employees want to hear you say “good job.” They need it. It’s what motivates them to do even more.

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