How to Praise Leadership: 9 Compliments for Your Boss

How to Praise Leadership - 9 Compliments for Your Boss

How can you compliment your boss praising their leadership without things being awkward? 

To help you navigate professional relationships with upper management, we asked HR experts and business leaders this question for their best advice. From asking for mentorship to using the praise back method, several pieces of advice may help you praise your boss sans any embarrassment. 

Here are nine strategies for complimenting your boss with grace: 

  • Just Express Your Gratitude
  • Nurture a Culture of Recognition
  • Be Genuine and Remember They Are Human, Too
  • Ask Them for Mentorship
  • Recognize Day-to-Day Action
  • Follow SBIN for Feedback
  • Use the “Praise Back” Method
  • Write a LinkedIn Recommendation
  • Compliment Them About Something They Taught You

Just Express Your Gratitude

Being a team leader or a boss is no easy job, so getting a little bit of praise is a nice reward. A good way to compliment your boss without it getting awkward is to just express gratitude. Thank them. 

If you think that they’re a really good listener, thank them for listening and understanding what you’re saying. If you think they’re really good at communicating with the team, thank them for their communication skills and work. A genuine compliment can go a long way if it comes from a place of gratitude and positivity.

Ryan Nouis, TruPath

Nurture a Culture of Recognition

First and foremost, just be honest. When praise and compliments are genuine, it should not be awkward. At Cadence Education, we know that our teachers are leaders in the classroom and prepare our students to be future leaders. 

One way to compliment leaders is to nurture a culture of recognition. We do this by welcoming families to speak about the everyday leaders in their students’ classrooms in testimonial videos and via online reviews. 

Families speak highly of their children’s teachers, administration, and overall experience, and we make sure the teachers are recognized for the positive feedback. Having a culture of genuine recognition means that it never feels awkward and is always welcome.

Jeanne Kolpek, Cadence Education

Be Genuine and Remember They Are Human, Too

Recognition and validation are things everyone strives for, whether they are entry-level employees or upper management. Giving your boss a compliment shouldn’t be awkward. 

Just be genuine and share something they recently did that you were impressed by. I promise it will make their day. I often compliment my supervisor on his ability to bring the team together to have candid conversations for process improvements.

Sophia Orlando, Markitors

Ask Them for Mentorship

The biggest compliment to a leader and boss is asking them for mentorship and help in your career growth. They know the most about your position and have the most knowledge. 

Asking them for assistance and mentorship praises them in a low-key manner. You will learn a lot while also complimenting them.

Michael Jankie, Natural Patch

Recognize Day-to-Day Action

It would be awkward to give your boss a big list of all the things they’re great at. If it doesn’t feel awkward, then you still run the risk of looking like a “suck up.” So start small and tell them “thank you” when they do something positive. A quick email saying, “Thanks for helping me work through that obstacle,” will be appreciated and won’t feel overbearing. Catch them in the hall and say something like, “I’ve just been so grateful for the extra time you spent with me yesterday — thank you for tackling that report with me.”

No one will be put off by a sincerely gracious comment. Start small, recognize the little things that happen day-to-day, and change your relationships with something as simple as a thank you!

Logan Mallory, Motivosity

Follow SBIN for Feedback

There are several ways to deliver positive feedback, and one of those is via the acronym SBIN. 

  • Situation: When does your boss do something awesome? 
  • Behavior: What was it they said or did? 
  • Impact: What was the result or positive impact? 
  • Next: Encourage them to keep up that leadership for next time. 

An example of this could look like this: “Last week in our team meeting, you updated us on our team’s product pitch to the senior leadership team. You were open and honest with how the leaders received the pitch and shared the gaps they pointed out in our product pitch. I appreciated your level of transparency with our team because it helped us identify where we could keep growing in our product pitches.”

Timothy Kirk, Indeed

Use the “Praise Back” Method

One way to compliment your boss is with the “praise back” method. This approach involves waiting for your boss to give you a compliment and then countering with one of your own. 

For example, if your boss says, “Wow, thanks so much for getting that project done on time,” then you might say, “My pleasure, thank you for giving such clear directions on it!” With this approach, you avoid awkwardness because everyone is already in gratitude mode.

Melissa Kelly, The Virtual Team Building Company

Write a LinkedIn Recommendation

Make your manager’s network aware of their excellent work. Write a paragraph for your manager’s LinkedIn page that shows his or her abilities as a manager and organizational leader. 

People at work and outside of work should be aware of their accomplishments. They will be more willing to supply you with a referral when it comes time to improve your LinkedIn profile.

Edward Mellett, Wikijob

Compliment Them About Something They Taught You

The best way to be authentic with your compliment is drawing as much as you can from the experience and the way it helped you. For example, if your boss’ leadership skills helped you overcome an obstacle or gave you some clarity, then walk them through it. 

Not only is this a genuine way of praising their leadership style, but it may be valuable feedback that helps them in their approach.

George Mitsov, ProxyEmpire

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