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Recently I was helping a more senior developer write up a training manual document for a niche part of an application that some other developers use but have troubles with getting their head around. The Senior Dev sent me over a draft of the document (it's very laid back sort of document, not very formal at all) and I added to it with my own thoughts/experience of the application. Afterwards, we had a 45-minute discussion of it and I expressed my thoughts about things we should highlight to other developers (pitfalls, most useful tricks etc) and he agreed with me.

So today I was forwarded an email by my manager where the senior developer was praising me quite profoundly for my input and help on the subject and several higher management tier people saw the email. I am very very grateful for the praise that he has given me and I was wondering, what is the most appropriate way to thank him for reporting on me in such a manner? I was thinking of just ringing him and saying "I saw the mail you sent and I just wanted to thank you personally for that I really appreciate it." (or equivalent) but I'm not sure if that is professionally OK to do?

What's the normal approach for thanking a senior who has praised you to senior management?

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    You could always buy him a drink over lunch or something along those lines. If that's not your style, then a simple "Thank You" will suffice. – AndreiROM Nov 13 '15 at 15:25
  • I can't think of a situation where expressing your sincere appreciation wouldn't be appropriate professionally, especially when you are thanking someone for something specific and work related. – ColleenV parted ways Nov 13 '15 at 15:32
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Yes, please go ahead and thank him. It would make him feel good and also would respect you more, as it is a nice gesture, and there's nothing wrong with it.

And what you wrote:

I saw the mail you sent and I just wanted to thank you personally for that I really appreciate it.

seems perfectly fine. So, go ahead and thank him.

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    It's what I usually do when I get such an email. As an aside to the OP, I also make it a point to give out the same kind of praise as you got when appropriate. It's a good habit to get into. It makes people more willing to work with you and it builds relationships. Think about how you feel about this senior dev right now. Don;t you want others to think about you that way? – HLGEM Nov 13 '15 at 15:26
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    Just a detail: I'd drop the word "personally" - it's obviously a personal thankyou as it's direct. Hi, I saw the email you sent and just wanted to thank you, I really appreciate it is similarly short and to the point, but a little more concise (which makes it, I think, sound slightly more sincere) – Jon Story Nov 13 '15 at 15:51
  • +1 absolutely agree, also Jon's comment to drop the 'personally' would be a small improvement. One reason why it's good in an email is that people like these sorts of notes, when searching mail in the future they will re-read this several times and remember you in a good light. – Kilisi Nov 13 '15 at 21:07
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I would just keep it short but sweet and in passing.

Something along the lines of "Thanks for the praise, I appreciate it".

It is always nice to be appreciated.

  • While I agree in general, I'm really not sure on your phrasing: it sounds...wrong. I can't quite put my finger on why, but it almost feels sarcastic/flippant. – Jon Story Nov 13 '15 at 15:50
  • Is that better @jon story – Terry Nov 13 '15 at 15:51
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    I think it's mostly the "praise" I'm seeing the problem with. "Thanks for the praise" just sounds wrong to me. Possibly my inbuilt British preference towards modesty. "I saw the email you sent yesterday and wanted to thank you" seems more sincere, as it's more something you would say in person. A thankyou email should usually be informal (as if you were thanking them verbally) to carry sincerity, and I can't imagine the phrase "Thanks for the praise" passing my lips. – Jon Story Nov 13 '15 at 15:54
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    @JonStory: Maybe I'm more modest than the average American (hmm, is that a modest comment?), but I agree that "Thanks for the praise" reads/sounds odd. I'd go with something like "Thank you for the kind words.", "Than you for highlighting my contribution.", or just "Thank you." – GreenMatt Nov 13 '15 at 16:02
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    @GreenMatt - I like your suggestions – Jon Story Nov 13 '15 at 16:07

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