(Next Level is an annoying business term and is just one of the 212 Most Annoying Business Phrases Managers Effuse, Confuse, and Overuse detailed in the hilarious must-have guide for every workplace: The 30,000-Pound Gorilla in the Room. Available right now on Amazon.)
If next level referred to some known level above the one where you’re operating, this phrase would not have made the cut. Unfortunately, your annoying manager never demands, “We need to take it to the next level” to refer to some measurable goal.
No, she just means more; better; faster; bigger; further.
Why is this bad? Because it’s unnecessarily ambiguous. Seriously, how will we know when we successfully get there? Is incremental improvement enough? Not likely, of course.
The next level, like tomorrow, never comes. It’s air; it’s fluff. For some truly annoying people in your industry, it might also be braggadocio.
You know the type: always telling anyone who will listen how they’re busy taking it to the next level while spending most of their time creating memes for LinkedIn and Facebook to amplify the fact they’re, ugh, crushing it.
Of course, when your boss discusses the next level, she’s not just annoying, she’s also vague – which can be doubly maddening for you and the rest of the team.
You’d prefer she ask the team, “To turn it up to eleven;” at least this way there would be some clarity in what she’s demanding. (Plus, we all appreciate a good Spinal Tap reference.)
Replacement phrases: Just define the level and we’ll all sleep better at night.
The 30,000-Pound Gorilla in the Room is available on Amazon