Explore the different ways to tell someone you’re proud of their accomplishments, as shared by experts.
Here are a few examples:
Table of Contents
- “That was hard work, but you did it!”
- “I’m really proud of what you’ve accomplished. I saw the amount of effort you put into it.”
- Utilize the PREP technique
- Give behavior-specific praise
- How to tell children and teens you are proud of them
- How to tell your friends and your partner you are proud of them
- Showing is better than saying
- Make them feel valued multiple times
- Frequently Asked Questions
- How can I support someone who is hesitant to share their accomplishments?
- Is it ever inappropriate to show pride in a person’s accomplishments?
- What if I still feel awkward or unsure about expressing pride?
- How can I show my appreciation for someone’s accomplishments if I’m not good with words?
- What if someone is proud of an accomplishment I don’t think is a big deal?
- How often should I express pride or compliments?
- Can expressing pride or compliments benefit me as well?
CEO and Lead Therapist, Naya Clinics
“That was hard work, but you did it!”
Sending positive reaffirmation to others helps one feel fulfilled and whole, as it promotes personal development and growth. The key to letting someone know you are proud of them is by intentionally making them aware of your feelings about their win.
- The phrase “You did an amazing job!” is used when you want downright to offer someone a confidence booster.
- The phrase “That was hard work, but you did it!” gives reinforced emphasis on the person’s efforts and allows his/her specific actions to be recognized.
- The phrase “Congratulations on your hard work’s payoff!” allows you to show someone your joy from their win while pointing out their efforts.
In the end, letting someone know you’re proud of them doesn’t require you to say “I’m proud of you.”
The only important thing is that you relayed a message of pride for their accomplishments no matter what words by ensuring that you celebrate for them by showing enthusiasm and joy through your tone and body language.
It’s also crucial to make sure that you re-affirm each accomplishment and seek only for their positive actions because the more we search for something wonderful, the more likely we’ll find it.
Executive Coach, Fingerprint for Success
“I’m really proud of what you’ve accomplished. I saw the amount of effort you put into it.”
Communication occurs through multiple different channels, and people often learn to pay attention to one or two styles and channels over the others. That means that the message we send in our communication is not necessarily received in the way that we intend it.
By using the different channels and adapting our style to meet the preference of the person we’re communicating with, we increase the chances of the message being fully received.
Here are the four main channels:
- In the words that we use – Acknowledging the person, foregrounding their accomplishment, and celebrating their talent and uniqueness through language, so they feel understood.
- In how we are saying it – To some, how we say things and how they sound matter more than the words being spoken. Communicating in a resonant tone, pitch, and volume with an emphasis on certain words can be like music to the ears.
- In how we look – Visually, communicating through our eye contact, facial expressions, and open body language helps a person to feel seen.
- Finally, from the state we’re communicating from – Being in an open, genuine, and authentic state when telling a person that you’re proud of their accomplishments can really help them receive the praise because it feels congruent and heartfelt.
John, I’m really proud of what you’ve accomplished. I saw the amount of effort you put into it, and I heard moments of frustration when it got difficult. But you preserved, and it shows how determined you are when you put your mind to something. High Five!
When you communicate across these channels in a congruent way, it helps the person feel seen, heard, understood, and valued when you’re telling them you’re proud of their accomplishments.
Michelle Lachman, M.S., CCC-SLP
Masters in Speech Therapy | Founder and Clinical Director, BetterSpeech
Utilize the PREP technique
Telling someone that you’re proud of their accomplishments simply shows that you care and that you acknowledge their achievements. The best way to do this is by being straightforward, and to make it sound professional and well thought of, we need to use the PREP technique.
So what is PREP?
By definition, PREP is an acrostic that stands for Point, Reasons, Example, and Point. Here’s an example of how to use PREP to tell someone that you’re proud of their accomplishments:
- P (POINT) – “I’m proud of your accomplishments..”
- R (Reason) – “..because I saw how hardworking and dedicated you are to your craft.”
- E (Example) – “I saw one of your products, and the details and effort you put into your work are second to none.”
- P (back to POINT) – “..and that’s why I’m proud of your accomplishments. Keep it up!”
As a Speech Therapist, we value communication, and by doing these steps, you’re not just communicating properly; you’re also building a relationship, and it is one of the most beautiful things to do in this world.
Senior Director of Human Resources, LiveCareer
Give behavior-specific praise
Our bosses, coaches, or teachers are often aware that they should tell us when we accomplish something important. Expressing satisfaction with our performance makes us feel valued and positively impacts our motivation.
However, simply saying “good job” is not enough. As a leader or mentor, your role is to show others what specific actions make you proud of their accomplishments.
As a hiring manager, I always try to be specific in my praise. I avoid giving general feedback but rather look at all the steps that my team members took to achieve a particular goal.
My objective is to focus on the process that an employee has gone through rather than the results. That way, I can give praise to others based on their effort rather than the final outcome.
For example, instead of saying, “I’m proud that you delivered your goals in the last quarter.”
I’d formulate my praise using these words:
“I’m proud that in the last quarter, you applied our new recruitment strategy and hired five new employees that turned out to be a great fit for our company culture.”
Giving behavior-specific praise has a positive impact on people’s performance and job satisfaction. It also strengthens the feedback culture in your organization as it encourages teams to openly share their opinions and give praise to their colleagues.
Psychotherapist | Founder, PsihoSensus
How to tell children and teens you are proud of them
It’s important to underline their accomplishment without exaggeration. Children build their self-esteem on their successfully completed actions, and your validation as a parent or significant adult can help spark their self-confidence.
Say that you are proud of your children when they do something difficult, or they do it well. Acknowledging the process as an accomplishment is important as well.
- “You worked hard, and you passed the test! I am proud of you!”
- “You did very well helping dad with chores.”
- “This is the project you are working on? So far, you are doing a fantastic job!”
How to tell your friends and your partner you are proud of them
Oftentimes people do not say “I am proud of you” to their friends or their partner because it helps avoid an emotional charge. Showing your partner and your friends that you are proud of them can strengthen your relationship, show support and validation.
Give them this validation, especially when they share something important with you.
- “I enjoy seeing you overcome this difficulty! I know it was so important for you.”
- “You look so happy with your accomplishment! Good job!”
- “Congrats on the new job! I knew you could get it!”
Owner and Founder, Tate Law
Showing is better than saying
The best way to express appreciation is through actions and not words. So if someone does something worthy of praise, gift them something memorable.
For example, once my colleague put in extra hours to satisfy a tough client. The client was so happy and referred us to his friends. Just a few hours of extra work on her part helped the company grow a lot.
Instead of saying “thank you,” we threw a mini office party to celebrate her work ethic.
Make them feel valued multiple times
Most people express how proud they are and then never mention it again. It’s important to make people and their actions great examples of setting company culture.
I refer to my colleague’s action each and every time there is an opportunity. It has been set as the gold standard of working in my company. This motivates not just this person but many others to achieve more.
Telling someone you are proud of their accomplishments is a powerful thing that takes on different forms throughout our lives. It is often spoken in the words, “I am proud of you.” although sometimes it comes from the actions that follow.
As a child, acknowledging this pride typically comes from adults in our lives whom we trust, respect, or admire. Whether it be a teacher, coach, or most importantly, a parent, the words always positively impact.
The most important aspect of this impact is its lasting nature. Not just in the sense that you feel good for a while after hearing them, but far more significant is the ripple effect.
Once you’ve listened to the words uttered, you will do whatever you can to have their power infiltrate your ears. I always loved bringing home my latest drawing so it could be hung on the place of honor in mine and every household known as the fridge.
As one grows up, the form may change, but the power of the words or what they represent never diminishes.
During the teen years, many of us can be found going out of our way in practice and games, so our coaches will pat us on the back and say the magic words. Sporting events even provide a double-whammy as we can usually hear similar accolades from our parents when the game is over.
Changes in adulthood
Once we enter the working world, things take a different form. It isn’t always as straightforward as it is hearing the simple words of our youth.
Sometimes the kudos come from winning a sales award or being recognized with a plaque for excellent service. It’s even further complicated as things look a little different from the other side of the fence.
The leader can affect the productivity and general success of those they are responsible for by merely knowing which version of an acknowledgment of pride their people like to hear. As you look at the impact, you begin to understand the real value in the power of telling someone you are proud of them and their accomplishments.
This value is not a result of the words themselves but in what they represent to the recipient.
For some, they represent reaching a goal, inspiring others, or achieving a life-time dream. For others, they represent positivity, love, and hope for the future — all things that can be achieved with the proper motivation and inspiration.
Nothing says “I’m only saying this because I’m supposed to” quite like a generic, “Hey, good job. I’m proud of your accomplishment!” You’ve got to put some meat on them bones, or it comes off as insincere at best.
I recently expressed my appreciation for an employee who had really gone out of her way (late hours/weekends) to deliver for a customer. I told her how grateful I was for her commitment to “Client Care,” one of our company values, and then told her story to the rest of the team.
I also had a special gift delivered to her based on what I’d learned about her interests and hobbies. In her case, it was three Charlie’s Angels Barbie dolls to add to her collection. Needless to say, she was thrilled! (It takes all kinds, I guess.)
She came away with more than just a “prize.” She truly felt recognized and appreciated by her boss and peers, with or without the gift.
VP of People and Co-Founder, Zety
Acknowledging employees’ accomplishments is extremely important in building employee morale and, therefore, should become a part of every company culture.
“I would like to thank you for the invaluable contribution you make to our team. Your recent accomplishments, dedication, creativity, and open-mindedness contribute immensely to our team’s success.
I am glad to see that through achieving your goals, you constantly grow and develop in your role.
Thanks to you, we not only achieve professional success but are also brought closer together as a team. I can see that we trust each other more now. I am glad that you are part of our team.”
Frequently Asked Questions
Some people are hesitant to share their accomplishments with others, either because they don’t want to seem like they’re bragging or because they’re afraid of being judged. Here are some ways you can support someone who is hesitant to share:
Be a good listener: If someone is hesitant to share about their accomplishments, it’s important that you listen without judging. Let them know that you’re there to support them and that you’re proud of them, no matter what.
Encourage them: Encourage the person to tell you about their accomplishments, but don’t push them if they aren’t ready. Let them know that their accomplishments are worth celebrating and that you’re excited for them.
Validate their feelings: If the person is hesitant to tell you about their accomplishments because they’re afraid of being judged, validate their feelings. Let them know that it’s normal to feel this way but that you support them no matter what.
Celebrate in a low-key way: If the person doesn’t want to make a big deal about their accomplishments, celebrate them in a low-key way. This can be a simple congratulatory card, a small gift, or just a kind word.
Is it ever inappropriate to show pride in a person’s accomplishments?
In general, it’s always appropriate to show pride in a person’s accomplishments. However, there are a few situations where you should be careful:
Be mindful of context: If someone’s accomplishment involves something sensitive or private, you should pay attention to the context in which you express your pride. Ensure the person is comfortable with the attention and that you aren’t inadvertently putting them on the spot.
Avoid comparisons: While it’s natural to want to compare another person’s accomplishments to your own or others, you should avoid it at all costs. Comparisons can be hurtful and can diminish the person’s achievement.
Respect boundaries: If someone doesn’t want to talk about their accomplishments or is uncomfortable with the attention, respect their boundaries. You can also show your support in other ways, such as a congratulations card or giving a small gift.
What if I still feel awkward or unsure about expressing pride?
It’s okay if you feel vulnerable or awkward expressing your feelings. Remember that sincerity and authenticity are most important. Here are some additional tips:
• Practice expressing positive emotions in smaller, everyday interactions.
• Seek support from friends or mentors to build your confidence and communication skills.
• Start with a simple compliment or expression of appreciation and build on it.
• Focus on the other person’s perspective and feelings rather than your own discomfort.
How can I show my appreciation for someone’s accomplishments if I’m not good with words?
Not everyone finds it easy to express their feelings in words. Here are some other ways you can show pride in the accomplishments of others:
Give a thoughtful gift: A small, thoughtful gift can go a long way toward showing someone you’re proud of them. It doesn’t have to be expensive or elaborate. It can be something simple like a card or a favorite treat.
Celebrate together: Plan a celebration with the person to recognize their achievement. This can be something simple like dinner, a few drinks, or something elaborate like a party. The important thing is to show that you’re happy for the person and want to celebrate their success.
Offer practical help: If the person’s achievement requires further work or effort, offer to help in a practical way. This may mean helping them with a project, running errands for them, or simply listening and offering support.
What if someone is proud of an accomplishment I don’t think is a big deal?
Everyone has their own definition of success, and what may seem like a small accomplishment to you may be a big deal to someone else. It’s important to support and respect the person’s feelings, even if you don’t understand why they’re proud. Here are some tips:
Be kind: Remember that it’s important to be kind and respectful to others, even if you disagree. Don’t belittle the person or make them feel like their accomplishment is unimportant.
Focus on the effort: Instead of focusing on the outcome, focus on the person’s effort to achieve their goal. Let them know that you’re proud of them for their hard work and dedication.
Offer encouragement: Even if you don’t understand why someone is proud of their accomplishment, offer encouragement and support. Let them know that you’re there for them and that you’re excited to see what they’ll accomplish in the future.
How often should I express pride or compliments?
There is no set frequency or rule for expressing pride, but it’s a good idea to be sincere and specific when you do. Overuse of compliments or empty praise can diminish their value. Instead, focus on the most meaningful accomplishments or actions and show genuine appreciation for them.
Can expressing pride or compliments benefit me as well?
Yes! Expressing positivity and support can boost your own mood and foster positive relationships. It can also create a ripple effect of kindness and encourage others to do the same. Remember, expressing pride and support is a win-win situation for everyone involved.
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