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I occasionally get compliments as: "good job", "Good Catch" from my boss at work. Usually, they send text via text applications. I always wonder whether I should say thanks or nothing to such messages. On one hand, I don't feel like replying by "Thanks" as if I'm a child (or maybe I'm wrong), on the other hand, I don't want to be rude by not replying to such messages.

What is an appropriate way to respond when my boss compliments me over text at work?

  • Kind of depends on the medium they are expressed in. Usually though a compliment should be acknowledge in some manner. – JoeCo May 1 '18 at 21:31
  • Usually, they send text via text applications – Ms improving May 1 '18 at 21:33
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    Saying Thanks or thank you is never childish, not saying it is. – HLGEM May 1 '18 at 21:53
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On one hand, I don't feel like replying by "Thanks" as if I'm a child (or maybe I'm wrong), on the other hand, I don't want to be rude by not replying to such messages.

The best reply to such a compliment is often a simple "Thanks!".

If that's childish, then the children have it right.

You are overthinking this one.

  • With all due respect your answer does, well give him some advice, but this could be completely wrong also. Acknowledgement doesn't just come through words these days even if it should. Past that I think it would of been better if you had re-tagged this with professionalism and closed it as it's only going to attract other peoples brief opinions. I opened a meta here to talk more.. workplace.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/5174/… – li x May 2 '18 at 13:56
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    It could be completely wrong? As in "saying thank you is wrong"? There is no debate here how the boss should acknowledge a good employee, the question was how to acknowledge a compliment. – skymningen May 2 '18 at 14:10
  • @skymningen My boss is very young and hip when he compliments me sometimes I just send an emoji, am I wrong? Does it make my response any better or worse? – li x May 2 '18 at 14:11
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    @lix I would argue that responding with an emoji could be equivalent to saying "Thanks!" The point of Joe's answer is that a short response is appropriate, and really that the whole situation is benign enough to not worry too much about how to respond. – David K May 2 '18 at 14:33
  • @DavidK Then surely it's benign enough to close it based on quality of the question? – li x May 2 '18 at 17:42
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If you're trying to work out how to respond to such a situation, one way is to understand why it happens in the first place.

One of the problems as a manager, or an organizer of any activity really, is that you want everything to go smoothly. Therefore, you tend to focus on the tangible things you can improve: errors in process, in execution and so on. In this way, the fact that some people are actually doing really good stuff gets overlooked, and people can begin to feel unappreciated.

So try to give your manager some credit here: he or she is trying to create an atmosphere where your good work, your insights and your efforts in general are seen for what they are and appreciated. This is a good thing!

My advice would be to respond in a way that keeps this mood going. Along the lines of a quick "no problem boss." or "all in a day's work!"

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Saying, "Thank you." is an appropriate response to a complement. If a lot of your communication with your boss is by texting, try to treat it how you would in direct personal communication.

When you spend most of your time speaking to each other directly, there is less of a need to respond to the occasional email or text every time unless you feel it is important to acknowledge receiving the message. Chances are, the compliment could get repeated in person. You get an opportunity to acknowledge it and be thankful.

Some people don't get many chances to communicate with a busy boss, so take advantage of this opportunity.

  • we communicate a lot, verbally or via text and I sometimes get her compliment via text or verbally – Ms improving May 2 '18 at 15:00
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    It may boil-down to the relationship with your boss. By default, saying thank you is a really good idea. If for some reason the repetition annoys your boss, you can always back off. – user8365 May 2 '18 at 15:21
  • The more formal "thank you." should help avoiding the feeling of being too childish, I think. – Liquid May 4 '18 at 11:22
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Boss: "good job", "Good Catch"

You: Yes, I Know. That's why I did it.

(should probably not be said...when your boss has no sense of humor...)

Cheers!

  • A subordinate speaking like this is going to be pegged as arrogant and dismissive of praise. They're unlikely to be complimented again soon or considered for the roles that involve dealing with people - which is basically all roles. – user53718 May 4 '18 at 8:39
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    This highy depends on the company culture, your relationship to the boss and (of course) your skills (of course, simple CodeMonkeys should avoid such jokes...). After reading your comment, it looks like you have nothing to laugh at your workplace.... – Ben May 4 '18 at 8:58
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    It must be really fun to be part of your team...Saying: Yes, I know... Is not necessarily arrogant, in an general humorous environment (something you may not really familiar with...). What you also missed, not all arrogant people are also fools...Someone who laughs about fools is arrogant (think about it)! – Ben May 4 '18 at 11:07
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    Ha! That sounds like my workplace. Using humor and sarcasm can be a fun means of bonding. Depends on the team though. Some people just have no sense of humor... – Cypher May 4 '18 at 18:53

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