When someone praises you at work, it might be challenging to know how to respond to it. For some people, this can feel really awkward, and they don’t know what else to say other than “thank you.”
But is it enough? Should you compliment them in return? What if you feel uncomfortable receiving and responding to them?
Whether the person complimenting you is your boss or one of your coworkers, learning how to effectively deal with compliments can give you an edge.
According to experts, here are the most effective ways to respond to compliments at work, along with a few examples.
Editor in Chief, Decline Magazine
Reciprocate by appreciating your co-workers
- “Thank you so much for your kind words. It means a great deal to me.”
- “I appreciate you taking the time to contact me. Thank you very much.”
Peer acknowledgment is just as important — if not more important — than praise from managers or other leaders. It’s the cornerstone of a recognition culture, and it can boost employee productivity by up to 14 percent.
When a co-worker compliments you, they may be praising your abilities, accomplishments, or even your personality. Each compliment is an opportunity to enhance the ties between team members, regardless of how they express their gratitude.
Making connections with your co-workers makes your job easier and more enjoyable, so try to reciprocate by appreciating co-workers.
Don’t be afraid to compliment your leader
- “It’s amazing to hear that from you. Thank you very much.”
- “Thank you so much; I’m so glad you like the project! I was pleased with the outcome as well.”
While a compliment from a colleague is always appreciated, there’s something unique about being recognized by a leader, whether it’s your boss or one of your company’s executives.
The best leaders set an example for everyone on their team, and demonstrating gratitude is no exception.
Leadership appreciation is especially powerful, but it doesn’t imply you should respond to compliments from leaders any differently. Don’t be afraid to compliment them because of their position.
Instead, concentrate on the motivation behind their praise, express gratitude for the compliment, and continue the cycle of praise by giving more compliments yourself, whether as part of your initial answer or later.
Don’t diminish but acknowledge your efforts
- “I appreciate everything you’ve done. It was a win for the entire team! I’ll be sure to mention your compliments at our next meeting.”
- “Wow, thank you so much! I’ll email the staff immediately, and they’ll be overjoyed to learn that their hard work has paid off.”
Many of your responsibilities do not require you to work alone. Your accomplishments are frequently a team effort, whether you’re part of a formal working group or simply standing on the shoulders of giants. That’s a fantastic thing.
When you receive a compliment for a cooperative endeavor, your first objective should be to include your teammates in your answer as well as to share the compliment with them thereafter.
However, this does not imply that you should avoid acknowledging or diminishing your efforts. After all, you were a part of the winning team, and you, like your co-workers, deserve recognition.
Receive the compliment with mindfulness
- “I’m delighted you enjoyed the presentation! Thank you very much. Maybe we can catch up and celebrate with a virtual coffee talk.”
- “Thank you very much! Let’s set up a video call with the entire staff so you can express your gratitude to everyone who helped.”
Many advantages come with remote work, including flexibility in work schedules, lower costs, and the option to hire talent from anywhere.
However, it might make it more difficult to stay connected to your organization and team, especially when it comes to awarding credit. You can’t say thank you in the corridor or the break room if they don’t exist.
It’s well worth the effort to overcome the difficulties of receiving and giving compliments while working remotely.
Adopt a mobile-first employee recognition platform to allow employees to incorporate appreciation into their daily routines, no matter where they are or what they’re doing.
While working remotely, you may receive a compliment via a recognition platform, email, chat, or video call. You may receive it with mindfulness and thanks, regardless of how you were recognized, just as you would if you were praised in person.
Respond to the acknowledgment in an appropriate method, letting the receiver know you appreciate their kind words.
If your company has implemented employee recognition software, you may easily pass the praise on by expressing gratitude to the team member who praised you or another co-worker.
Diversity and Inclusion Consultant, Trainer, and Speaker | Founder, Lotus Solutions LLC
Inform them if the compliment gives you discomfort
According to a study, almost “70% of people associated feelings of embarrassment or discomfort with recognition or receiving a compliment.”
How we perceive and receive compliments at work is a matter of personal choice and comfort. Some people welcome compliments in the workplace, while others feel uncomfortable receiving and responding to them.
If you decide to compliment someone, be mindful of this beforehand.
Consider your intent and how a reasonable person would feel or react to what you are about to say. Also, consider whether you are about the compliment the person about their work or something else.
Personal compliments, including those about a person’s appearance, can be tricky. I know some folks who only choose to give personal compliments at work to people with whom they are friends.
On the other hand, we all know people who freely give such compliments.
If a co-worker says, “You look great today” or “That color looks great on you,” say “Thank you” if you are comfortable with the compliment. If the statement gives you any sense of discomfort, inform the person making the statement immediately.
Compliment versus Harassment
Unwelcome compliments can turn into more and even constitute harassment at work.
I once knew a woman of color in a top leadership role and her boss continually complimented her dress, shoes, and fashion sense. He knew she did not welcome his comments.
Nevertheless, he continued complimenting her to the point he created a hostile work environment. His actions led to a formal complaint.
Be careful if you choose to compliment someone in the workplace and what you are complimenting about the person. Complimenting people about their work and appearance is much easier and wiser.
Compliment people on their work
Complimenting someone for their work shows that the person and the company care about its employees. For example, consider how you would react if your supervisor, at a team meeting, says, “Excellent job on that webinar!”
This would make you feel a sense of value and that the company recognizes your efforts and contribution.
Never estimate the power and context of your words in the workplace. They can go a long way toward establishing a strong and healthy work culture, where people feel a sense of value and belonging.
Content and Marketing Manager, crowjack
Respond gracefully with a big smile on your face
In the contemporary corporate world, where people are bold, social, and upfront, receiving compliments is not a strange thing. Perhaps a few years ago, people would have been far more reluctant to express themselves in the workplace.
However, now, people are more confident in extending compliments to their loved ones.
Besides, compliments are always about appearances. You will get complimented more often for your commitment, skills, and achievements than your looks in the workplace.
Initially, when I came in as a rookie to the business world almost a decade ago, compliments made me nervous, and I always thought that I needed to be far better at taking compliments.
Gradually, as I proved myself to people around me, compliments became more frequent, and in due course of time, I learned how to deal with compliments effectively.
Not to flaunt, I do get great compliments in the workplace, and they literally make my day. For a minute or two, I can just put my work stress aside and embrace some kind words of appreciation.
For me, the best way to deal with a compliment coming from a co-worker or a senior executive is to respond gracefully with a big smile on your face.
Compliments should not make you arrogant but rather humble.
Having said that, with all your humility, you should say a humble thank you in response to a kind compliment. If possible, you should also extend a compliment in response to your colleague’s compliment.
For instance, if someone compliments you on your attire or how pretty you look, you can humbly tell them that they look great too.
Of course, you need to be diplomatic enough, and your compliment in response to a compliment should not seem like an obligation. Even if you do not want to compliment them in return, the least you can do is wish them a great day with a smiling face.
So, when people extend a compliment to you, you should express gratitude and wish them a great day in the kindest of words.
To be true, taking compliments and responding to them is quite subjective. How I deal with compliments may be completely different from how others reply to compliments.
Different individuals respond to compliments differently, and it is also largely subject to their personality.
For instance, an introvert employee will have a different way of responding to compliments, while an extrovert individual will respond in a more animated manner.
However, irrespective of what your personality is like, gratitude is the least you can express.
Besides, if your manager or your boss is the one complimenting you, you can appreciate their guidance and support in response to their complement. You can always share that achievement with others around you and hence share the compliment as well.
Founder, Moving Astute
A sincere “thank you” is the best reaction to a praise
Offering a genuine and enthusiastic “thank you” is always the best response to a compliment. It’s always nice to receive a compliment, but knowing how to respond in a professional setting can be tricky.
Thanking the person who gave the compliment is always a good start, but there are a few other things you can do to make sure the interaction is positive and productive.
First, take a moment to savor the compliment. Compliments are often fleeting, so savoring the feeling of being appreciated can help you stay grounded and focused throughout the day.
Second, try to pay the compliment forward. Compliments are often given in response to something we’ve done for someone else, so passing on that feeling of appreciation can help create a positive work environment.
Finally, don’t be afraid to return the compliment. If someone takes the time to give you a genuine compliment, chances are they would appreciate one in return. So go ahead and let them know what you admire about them.
If you’re not sure how to respond, try one of these phrases:
- “Thank you so much. I really appreciate it!”
- “I’m so glad you think so, thank you!”
- “Thank you, that means a lot coming from you.”
If you receive a compliment about your work, it’s important to remember that it’s not just about you. Be sure to give credit where it’s due, and thank your team members for their help:
- “Thank you. I couldn’t have done it without the help of my team.”
- “Thank you, we all worked really hard on that project.”
Compliments are always a nice ego boost, but don’t let them go to your head. Stay humble and remember that there’s always room for improvement.
Blogger and Founder, Blogging Ocean
When someone gives you a compliment at work, it’s important to know how to respond in the most professional way possible.
While there are no hard and fast rules about how you should handle compliments, here are a few tips that will help you handle the situation in a better way.
Thank the person who gave you the compliment
When you receive a compliment from your boss or a coworker, the most important thing you need to do is thank the person. It’s polite and makes the other person feel appreciated. You can say something like, “Thank you for noticing my hard work” or “I’m glad I could be of help.”
Another benefit of thanking the other person is that it might encourage them to give you more compliments in the future.
Respond with modesty
If you receive a compliment that is about your work performance, try to respond with modesty.
For example, if someone says, “Great job on that presentation,” you can say, “I was just doing my best.” This shows that you are humble and grateful for the compliment.
Acknowledge the compliment
In some cases, it’s appropriate to acknowledge the compliment simply. This might be the case if the compliment is about your appearance or something that you can’t control.
For example, if someone says, “You’re so pretty,” you can say “Thank you” and move on.
Don’t take the compliment too far
When you receive a compliment, it’s important to accept it graciously.
However, you don’t want to take the compliment too far by fishing for more compliments or bragging about your accomplishments. This will make you seem arrogant and unprofessional, which is not the image you want to project at work.
Use it as an opportunity to bond with the other person
When you receive a compliment, it’s also a good opportunity to bond with the other person.
You can use the compliment as a way to start a conversation or to find out more about the other person.
For example, if someone compliments your work at the office, you could ask them, “How are things on your side?” or “What do you think of the new project we’re working on?”
Compliments are a great way to build strong work relationships with your colleagues, so don’t be afraid to use them to your advantage.
Don’t get embarrassed
It’s normal to feel a little bit embarrassed when you receive a compliment, but try not to let it show. Don’t blush, stammer, or giggle uncontrollably. Just take a deep breath and stay calm.
Remember that the other person is just trying to give you a compliment, and there’s nothing to be embarrassed about. However, if you feel uncomfortable, you can try to deflect the compliment by giving credit to someone else.
For example, you could say, “Oh, it was no big deal. Anybody could have done it.” Or, “I was just doing my job.”
This can help to diffuse the situation and take the focus off you.
Remember, while these tips should help you handle compliments in a better way, it’s still up to you how you handle the situation. Make sure to stay calm and not get anxious, as you might mess things up out of anxiety.
CEO, Walk Big Media
Everyone loves getting a compliment, but I’ve noticed that some people actually get awkward when they receive one — simply because they don’t know how to respond.
Related: How to Not Be Socially Awkward?
If you’re doing a great job at work, your colleagues or your manager will most likely praise you, but it’s important for you to respond to that praise effectively in order to breed a positive work environment.
Remember, no one likes a show-off or a know-it-all. Therefore, here are some tips on how to reply to a compliment at work.
Stay gracious and humble
It’s important to stay gracious and humble after you’ve received a compliment.
I’ve had the distinct displeasure of working with people who believe that they should be complimented regardless of their work, and trust me, it doesn’t end well for anyone.
If your manager or colleagues compliment you on, for example, doing well on a project, you can reply with “Thank you! It wouldn’t have been possible without the team I had.”
Remaining humble allows you to build rapport with your co-workers as well, and you set yourself up for future compliments.
Appreciate and acknowledge the compliment
If someone is paying you a compliment, take time out to respond to them and appreciate them for their effort as well. It’s a tit-for-tat game, and it’s important to remember that receiving a compliment is just one-half of it.
For example, if you’ve received a compliment, you can reply, “Thank you so much! I really appreciate you saying that because it means a lot to me.”
Just this one sentence is enough for you to show yourself as a team player who values others’ input.
Some additional examples:
Manager: “Hey Aaron, great job on the presentation last week! We were able to close the deal.”
Response: “Thank you! I worked really hard, and I really appreciate the feedback!”
Colleague: “Amazing job on the report, Dave!”
Response: “Thank you, but I have to say it was a team effort at the end of the day!”
CCO and Co-Founder, Novoresumé
Smile your way in to show acknowledgment
Our company believes in a healthy work environment, providing employees the equal opportunity for growth and progression. We believe compliments at work are essential as they boost morale and help encourage greater productivity in the future.
One of the great ways of responding to a compliment is by smiling.
If you’re stumped for words to express your gratitude for a compliment, smiling and saying “Thank you!” is a terrific method to show your appreciation without saying much.
Express your gratitude and acknowledge others
Expressing your gratitude, physically or verbally, by exhibiting your joy for the compliment through your expressions or body language can tell managers or colleagues how you received their affirmation.
Going for a handshake, for example, or stating how much the compliment means to you are two excellent techniques to demonstrate your appreciation.
Another excellent method to respond to a compliment is to return the praise. “Thank you very much! It was possible due to the help and efforts of my team and colleagues. I’m grateful for the opportunity to guide them. I’ll inform them that you liked it.”
Stay grounded and mention the acknowledgment
Recognizing the compliment and responding politely will help you stand out to employers and make more professional contacts for your future.
If a manager lets you know that your efforts have been beneficial for the company, you can respond, “Thank you! My colleagues have helped me a lot!”
Another approach to reply to a compliment is to acknowledge and thank the person who gave it to you.
If your manager appreciates that you did an exceptional job, you can respond, “Thank you very much! I appreciate the compliment and the recognition of the effort I’ve put in at work.”
Owner and Writer, Elevated Coffee Brew
Don’t be too modest when someone pays you a compliment
I find that there’s nothing wrong with being humble, but you shouldn’t be too modest when someone pays you a compliment at work. After all, you’ve worked hard to earn those praises.
The best way to respond to a compliment is to accept it and express your appreciation graciously. A simple “thank you” goes a long way, but you can also take the opportunity to return the compliment.
For example, if your boss compliments your hard work on a recent project, you might say something like, “Thank you, I really appreciate your leadership on this.”
Remember, compliments are a two-way street.
By taking the time to pay someone a genuine compliment, you’re not only showing appreciation for their work but also building relationships and fostering a positive work environment.
Personally, I am terrible at receiving compliments, which is strange since I am always finding ways to boost up others.
I throw out compliments like “You are doing amazing!” or “That’s a great way to solve the issue!” but when someone does the same to me, I get all awkward and shy.
I tend not to believe compliments about myself, thinking the person is just being nice or that they are making things up.
But recently, I have been working on changing my relationship with compliments.
The first step is acknowledging that it is okay to receive compliments and that I am worthy of them. The second step is graciously accepting compliments with a simple “thank you.” And the third and final step is to return the compliment.
I recently got a promotion at work. With that comes a flurry of people congratulating me and telling me how proud they are of me. I have been working on steps one and three, but step two still alludes to me.
So, the other day when my boss told me how excited he was for my new position, I simply said “thank you” and then added, “I am excited for the opportunity to learn from the best.”
It was a great way to show my appreciation but also let him know that I have a lot to learn in my new role.
I have also found that when I get nervous, I make jokes or beat around the bush when someone pays me a compliment. But I am working on being more confident and sincere in my responses.
The next time you receive a compliment, try out one of these responses:
- “Thank you. I really appreciate your leadership on this.”
- “I’m glad I could help find a solution.”
- “Thank you, your support means a lot.”
Marketing Director, Green Building Elements
Show engagement by adding more to “thank you”
It’s very customary to say thank you and convey appreciation when you receive a compliment, but one way to show sincerity is to add details about how hard you worked hard on the project or mention colleagues if it was a team project.
Add value to how appreciative you are of the compliment by saying you always strive to do your best.
When you receive a compliment about how good you did on the presentation, you can respond with:
“Thank you. I spent a lot of time working on the presentation to give justice to the team’s efforts and wisdom, so I appreciate it.”
Never downplay the compliment, no matter how small it is
Even if it was the simplest “you look blooming today” or “you seem energized today,” don’t dismiss it as anything even though it may be uncomfortable for a lot of people to receive compliments about your personality or your appearance.
Try to see every compliment as an opportunity to network as much as you can.
See it as a pathway to return a compliment back and make small talk. You can go with:
“Thanks! I like the color of your tie today! How was the weekend?”
Do remember that when making small talk, avoid overwhelming your colleague with questions. Small talk shouldn’t carry on over to long conversations. Just a simple head’s up would be great.
Don’t fish for more compliments
When you receive a compliment, make sure to address that compliment first instead of jumping to ask about how you did in another project.
Although asking for feedback is okay, such as asking if there was anything they noticed that you could improve on is okay but do not milk the gesture by asking them, “Are you sure?” or “What makes you say so?”
CEO, eBusiness Institute
Watch your ego when receiving compliments
It’ll put you in good stead, not respond in a way where it seems like you’re inflating your own ego. It’s always best to stay humble. Acknowledge the compliment, and express appreciation for it, but don’t use it as a means to praise yourself.
For example, here’s what not to do:
“You did a really great job with your presentation this morning. Everyone was really impressed with you!”
“Thank you. I’m quite good at presentations. I wasn’t worried because I know I’m probably one of the best at them here.”
This makes you look quite vain and self-absorbed.
Do this instead:
“You did a really great job with your presentation this morning. Everyone was really impressed with you!”
“Thank you, it was tough. I’m grateful for all your input while I was trying to put it all together!”
Being humble is a wonderful trait that shows that you’re secure within yourself.
Stay professional when responding
Don’t misinterpret why someone is complimenting you. If you’re not used to receiving compliments, you may think that they’re being flirtatious.
They’re most likely not, and responding inappropriately will damage your professional reputation.
Here’s what you shouldn’t do:
“Hey, Jack, good job with your sales this month. That’s the highest it’s been in four quarters. You really are a great salesman.”
“Thanks, Jenny. That means so much to me. I quite like you too.”
What was meant as an innocent and kindly remark turned into something else. When in doubt, be professional.
Try this instead:
“Hey, Jack, good job with your sales this month. That’s the highest it’s been in four quarters. You really are a great salesman.”
“Thanks, Jenny. I have a great team supporting me!”
Keep it kindly and professional, and always separate your business and personal life if you have the option to.
Senior Editor, Tandem
Thank them for the compliment
As an office professional with 25+ years of work experience, I have received my share of compliments at work. Though no two situations are the same when you receive a compliment at work, here are some ways to respond.
Responding to a co-worker
If a co-worker compliments you, thank them for the compliment. If they compliment you for a job well done, think about whether these positive remarks belong solely to you or if they should be spread to a group that helped.
Showing altruism amongst co-workers can lead to respect and admiration.
Responding to a supervisor
When a supervisor hands over a compliment, you might feel like you are on top of the world — and so you should.
Thank your supervisor and tell them what you enjoyed about the project or task they are commenting on. They might be more inclined to assign similar tasks in the future if they know how you feel.
Responding to a client
At times, clients will be kind enough to compliment you at work. After you’ve worked hard on their project, you are probably grateful for the recognition.
As you would with anyone, thank them for the compliment, and see if there is a way for you to return the compliment sincerely. Don’t try to force a response — only say something based on truth.
You might want to share the compliments you receive from your co-workers and your clients with your supervisor. After all, they might not be aware of the great job that you are doing if this compliment was only shared with you.
It’s okay to be proud of yourself and to let others know, as well.
Director, Bankless Times
Downplaying praise only serves to devalue it and could even insult the giver. In my opinion, is not the correct way of receiving a compliment. If you undervalue a compliment, it reveals either a lack of self-esteem or a lack of understanding of how to accept it.
Consider the following if you want to know how to accept a compliment properly:
Don’t discredit the gratitude
Never say, “Oh, that’s nothing,” or “Oh, that’s no big deal,” when you receive an unexpected compliment. You may believe you are humble, but you will look to be rejecting the other person, maybe hurting their feelings.
Show your appreciation to the person
Say “Thank you” as soon as you receive the compliment. If you’re shy about it, that should suffice. You don’t have to be shy, though.
Gather the guts to say something like, “I appreciate the compliment,” or “It’s thoughtful of you to say that.” It’s a simple gesture, but it will give a good impression on the person who complimented you.
Don’t begin a compliment exchange
Don’t fall into the urge to compliment the other individual as well.
If the comment comes from someone you respect and admire, or if it comes from your supervisor, you might feel compelled to reciprocate with a compliment of your own.
Resist the desire to say, “You did a lot better than me.” Take advantage of the opportunity since it is yours.
CEO and Founder, Lift Vault
The simplest way to accept a compliment is a simple “thank you”
There’s been plenty of research that shows that many people are actually really uncomfortable accepting compliments. There are countless reasons why we’re bad at it, whether it seems impolite, you have self-confidence issues, or if you feel like you didn’t deserve it.
However, not accepting the compliment can make the complimenter feel just as badly. This can be a disaster in the workplace.
As a business leader, helping team members see their worth in the office is important to me. Here’s how you can accept a compliment effectively at work.
The simplest way to accept a compliment is a simple “thank you.” While this might feel like an insurmountable mountain to do, often, just thanking someone for their compliment is the least-painful strategy to get around it.
A lot of us want to exchange compliments, which can be hard, especially if you don’t know the complimenter personally.
A short, sweet appreciation for the compliment often goes much farther than we think, helps diffuse the awkwardness, and lets everyone move on. However, if the complimenter is someone you’d love to build a mentorship with, you can turn the exchange of compliments into a networking opportunity.
If someone compliments how hard you worked on a project, you can say, “Thank you, I appreciate you liked it so much. I’d love to know more of your thoughts about this part of the presentation. Can we have a meeting about it later?”
This can help you accept the compliment because you’re almost deflecting it by focusing on a personal meeting, allowing you to build a working relationship that can help you continue growing.
Chief HAVC Specialist and Operations Manager, Dehumidifier Depot
Try to be specific in your response
Whether it’s a colleague praising your work on a project or your boss complimenting your dedication, it’s always nice to receive a compliment at work. But sometimes, accepting a compliment can be tricky. You don’t want to seem too proud, but you also don’t want to downplay your successes.
Here are a few tips for how to respond to a compliment in a way that is both professional and gracious.
When someone compliments your work, try to be specific in your response.
For example, if your boss says she’s impressed with how quickly you turned around a task, you might say something like, “I’m happy to have been able to help out. I know how important it is to have this project done as soon as possible.“
This helps to highlight what you did well without sounding like you’re bragging.
If you’re not sure how to respond to a specific compliment, simply saying “Thank you” is always a good option. You can also use body language to show that you’re pleased with the compliment; smiling and making eye contact conveys appreciation and sincerity.
Finally, remember that it’s always best to keep your response brief—no need to go on (and on) about how great you are. Lastly, make sure to return the favor by complimenting others when you have the opportunity.
By following these tips, you can effectively respond to compliments and create a positive working relationship with your colleagues.
CEO and Founder, Outdoor Dog Fun
Responding to a compliment at work can feel a bit like a minefield, especially when it comes from someone with a senior role.
However, properly acknowledging a compliment at work is really important, so here are my top tips.
As with receiving any kind of compliment, you should start off by saying thank you and showing your appreciation.
You can show your thanks in a few different ways, not just verbal — such as reaching out for a handshake. Just remember — keep it brief. Your boss most likely doesn’t want to hear a monologue about how thankful you are.
Make a comment on the task
Often, workplace compliments focus on one particular task, and when responding to a compliment, it is a good idea to make a comment on the task that provides a little in-depth insight into the process.
This will help you to demonstrate your knowledge of the job and acknowledge the effort you put into completing the assignment.
Never forget your team
One of the biggest red flags I see in new managers when I compliment them, or their team, is taking sole accountability for a successful project and not appreciating the efforts and contributions of their team.
Rather than just accepting a compliment, try to acknowledge others that contributed to the success of the task, as this will show your ability to work well in a team and will make other members of your team feel valued (spurring on productivity).
Vice President of Growth, AdQuick
Build off that compliment when it comes as praise for a job well done
Connecting the dots between the work you performed and what led to a project’s success can help you better identify your strengths, pinpointing the right direction for continued learning, upskilling, and development programs.
You can then create a roadmap as you work to expand your knowledge and skillset to become a more effective corporate asset while making you a better candidate for the job you really want.
Online certification programs provide an à la carte training experience to help you focus on areas of improvement at your own pace and from the comfort of your home.
Many online learning platforms have internationally recognized programs that can help further hone your industry skills and add greater value to your resume.
They’ll also help you ramp up your knowledge of the latest industry tools and software.
And many companies today now provide in-house mentorship opportunities, leveraging the strengths of their seasoned employees to coach newer professionals.
Developing a plan makes your career goals a priority and enables you to stay on track toward attaining them.
And the time and financial investment involved in your professional growth will hold you accountable for showing up.
Vice President of Marketing, Red Stag Fulfillment
Return the compliment to the person who gave you one
Receiving a compliment at work can be a major morale booster and help you to overcome things like imposter syndrome, which most employees experience.
It is nice to feel appreciated and to be recognized for your hard work. However, receiving compliments can sometimes be awkward if you are unsure how to respond to them.
The best way to respond to a compliment is to smile, say thank you, and then give a compliment back to the person who gave you one. Always stay humble when in this situation, and do not brag about your skills to the other person.
Giving them a compliment in return can be a nice gesture to show your appreciation and also to make someone else feel good too.
It is important never to just say thank you and walk away or shrug their compliment off. This will seem off-putting to the other person, and they will be less likely to compliment you in the future.
This would also count as a negative experience which they will associate you with every time they are around you.
CEO, Lucky Bobbleheads
Recognize your team members’ contributions to the work
If you are complimented on a project that multiple people worked on together, you might want to consider answering by praising the contributions of the other people on your team as well.
It’s important to demonstrate that you’re a team player by crediting and appreciating your coworkers.
As a result, if you acknowledge the efforts and contributions made by your coworkers, you demonstrate not only an ability to collaborate well with others but also an awareness of the significance of group effort.
Related: 30+ Real Life Examples of Teamwork
This might be helpful in demonstrating the experience you have with the job and gaining recognition for the effort you put into that particular assignment.
For example, if a coworker tells you that you did an excellent job on the most recent project that you worked on for the company, you may respond by saying, “Thank you” for the compliment.
The time spent working on this project has provided a wonderful educational opportunity. The project was difficult, but I believe I was able to manage it successfully, and we accomplished it as a team.
CEO and Founder, Textel
Consider how you convey your reaction rather than what you say
When it comes to receiving a compliment, it’s more important to consider how you deliver your response rather than what you say.
Many of us are uncomfortable receiving compliments, incorrectly taught from a young age that humility means downplaying out achievements. Though you may feel uncomfortable receiving a compliment, it’s crucial to move beyond it and express your thanks for the complimenter’s appreciation.
Though that means saying a heartfelt but simple word of thanks, like, “Thank you, that means a lot to me,” your body language is the most critical piece of your response.
Using the right words can still make the other party uncomfortable if your body language screams, “Get me out of here!”
When we’re uncomfortable, we often slouch, turning our bodies or eyes away. Stand or sit up straight and make direct eye contact when you receive the compliment and thank them.
Staying physically present with them will help you both come away from the interaction feeling heard and seen.
Express your thanks with physical confidence that expresses pride, even if you don’t feel much of it at the moment.
Co-Founder, Reboot Love Life
It depends on the nature of the compliment
To respond to a compliment at work, return a loud “Thank you!” followed by one thing you like about the person who complimented you. This does two things. Firstly, it forces you to do more than an awkward smile or a sheepish, low-voiced “thanks.” Secondly, you made someone’s day by complimenting them.
What you should return depends on whether the compliment was professional or personal. In case of a:
A professional compliment
Return with a professional compliment and top it up with a doubt or general query you might have about what the other person does really well.
This goes on to show that you actually observe and appreciate what they do.
A personal compliment
Refrain from complimenting physical attributes unless you know the person really well, as those can be taken otherwise or as dropping hints.
Instead, stick to safe areas like fashion sense, general behavior, cool accessories, sense of humor, etc.
However, never cross-compliment, i.e., compliment someone personally if they like a professional trait of yours and vice-versa, as not only do they make the other person awkward but also look like you’re trying to change the topic.
CEO and Founder, We Buy Houses in Kentucky
“Thank you, and it really means a lot to me”
When you receive praise, it’s important to express your gratitude in the most direct way possible.
However, you should always show your thanks to the person who made the praise, even if it comes from a coworker or an acquaintance.
If you say something like, “that means a lot to me,” you are expressing your thanks in a positive light. Saying “thank you” is a simple yet effective way to show gratitude.
A little extra information about how much the praise means to you might make it easier to express your gratitude.
This reaction, however, can’t be utilized for every compliment you receive. It’s important to keep in mind that this is an appropriate answer to an appropriate praise.
If someone says something kind about you, such as “Good job!” you should just say “Thank you!” in return. It’s only appropriate to remark, “It means a lot to me,” when it truly does.
Be sure to give credit to those who earn it
Acknowledging individuals who contributed to the achievement of the project or effort you are being commended for is critical when getting attention from others.
If you are complimented on a specific project that involves the input of other individuals, such as your team or coworkers, do not take all of the credit for all of the accomplishments; instead, keep in mind to mention those who enabled the project or event a success.
Reacting to compliments like this demonstrates your dependability and ability to draw on the support of people to achieve your objectives.
In addition to this, it will ensure that you are open to sharing the credit for a work well done when it is completed successfully.
CEO and Founder, Funeral Funds of America
Avoid devaluing the compliment
It’s common to feel awkward when it comes to responding to compliments at work. We don’t want to seem boastful or ungrateful, but at the same time, we don’t want to downplay our accomplishments.
When responding to a compliment, avoid devaluing the compliment by saying something like, “it was nothing” or “I just did my job.” Instead, take the opportunity to reaffirm your commitment to the company’s goals and values.
For example, you might say something like, “Thank you for noticing. I’m passionate about doing good work that reflects our company’s values.”
Remember, responding to compliments is also an opportunity to build relationships with your colleagues. So make sure your responses are genuine.
For example, if someone compliments your work on a project, you can say something like, “I couldn’t have done it without your help.” This shows appreciation for the compliment and highlights the importance of teamwork.
Co-Founder and CTO, Fig Loans
Accept the compliment graciously and say thank you
When someone compliments you at work, your response should always include a thank you. Showing ‘humility’ by minimizing your success or rejecting the compliment altogether does a disservice to you and the other party.
When someone congratulates you on a job well done, and you reject it, you’re also rejecting their opinion. They’re likely to feel slighted or attacked, wondering why they bothered to say something nice at all.
Try saying, “Thank you. I worked very hard on that.” Or, “Thank you, your opinion means a lot to me.”
If you find yourself mentally pushing back against the compliments you receive, it’s time to dig in internally and find out why you struggle to accept positive feedback.
9 times out of 10, we’re far too hard on ourselves.
CEO and Founder, Pixel Chefs
Be prepared for your answers
Have you ever been in a situation where someone you least expect compliments you, and you just start to stammer and fall apart only to blurt out “You’re welcome” in the end?
It can get awkward when someone in your workplace compliments your look or work. So prepare your answers beforehand.
Having a script memorized for these situations can be a life saver. You can say, “Oh, thank you! I really like your (Something they are wearing/or doing) too!” This is polite and kind at the same time.
Be smart about responding
If a manager appreciates your work, you can leverage this opportunity to ask for a raise or promotion as well. But you don’t have to be blunt about it. You can casually slip into the conversation.
For example, “Oh, thank you! working really hard to get that promotion.” This is a great opportunity to put your point across without any reluctance or embarrassment.
CEO, The Pricer
Respond to a compliment with a compliment as well
There are many reasons why someone would compliment you, and the reasons won’t always be sincere without a hidden angle.
I found that the best way to respond to a compliment, as long as it is in good taste, is with a compliment as well. This way, if the compliment were sincere, the person offering it would have a reason to be just as happy as they made me.
For example, if someone were to compliment my tie, I’d go ahead and reply with a compliment about the color of their shirt, and it would sound something like, “Thank you. I also noticed your nice shirt, but I was so caught up with work that I forgot to tell you.”
If I’m complimented on my work, on the other hand, I’d reply with something along the lines of “You know that my job would be almost twice as hard without your great spreadsheets.”
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