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Social & Interpersonal Skills

How To Compliment Someone’s Leadership In 13 Sincere Ways

True leadership is worth celebrating. If you have a boss or supervisor who always goes out of their way to offer support, you may have questions about the appropriate way of how to compliment someone’s leadership when you have benefited from it.

Should you send them a thank-you card? Post a review on the internet that mentions their work specifically? Is there an opportune time to express your gratitude so that it does not appear to be anything but self-serving flattery?

The baker’s dozen ways of recognizing and complimenting a supervisor’s exemplary leadership listed below offer a roadmap. While you may have limitations placed upon the ways that you express words to praise a leader due to corporate policies or culture, these options offer you a variety of choices to consider.

13 Sincere Ways to Recognize True Leadership

“The person who knows HOW will always have a job. The person who knows WHY will always be his boss.”–Alanis Morissette (1974- ), Canadian-American singer

1. Refrain from Ostentatious Flattery

When you have words to praise a leader, you should express them with sincerity. Simply employing flattery, the use of insincere praise in an excessive or ostentatious manner, serves little purpose beyond showing that you have more concerns about embellishing your ego than celebrating your supervisor’s successful management and leadership.

Flattery might work on rare occasions, but it may have an adverse effect on your professional career trajectory if others think you are using it for personal gain. Instead of flattery, consider giving feedback as “appreciative criticism” with you mentioning how your supervisor’s achievements relate to measurable benchmarks within the organizational structure. Keep your statement short and positive, using powerful yet accurate adjectives rather than long-winded praise.

2. Express Appreciation for Their Accomplishments Despite Limitations

When you issue a compliment for team leader behaviors demonstrated by your boss, share your praise by understanding the administrative and financial limitations under which that person must operate. All employees within an organization seek validation and recognition, whether they are new hires or long-time executives.

Consider a situation where you and your colleagues asked for certain resources for a project, but your boss could only provide part of what you requested. Rather than griping about what did not get provided, express your appreciation for what could be delivered: “Thank you for pulling some strings to get what we needed.” They will be grateful when an employee understands that they also have to work under limitations.

3. Share Your Gratitude

While some may find it awkward trying to find a way for how to compliment someone’s leadership, simply expressing gratitude can go a long way. Thank them with a genuine compliment that is shaped by your heartfelt gratitude and stated in a positive way, rather than by flattering them while tearing down someone else. Refrain from weakening a positive statement by adding a negative comparison to another entity.

Remember that the purpose of sharing your gratitude is not to gain political points or to expect a quid pro quo by thinking that a little flattery now would earn you a promotion later. By offering gratitude from your heart rather than releasing a calculated statement with only your ambitions in mind, you respond to their leadership by showing you are a worthy beneficiary of it.

4. Recognize Daily Accomplishments

Workers should also issue praise and gratitude for those day-to-day moments that aren’t as easily defined as big projects or strategic plan accomplishments.

This does not mean that you act like a “suck up” who issues praise on a non-stop basis or in a trite or predictably repetitive way. Instead, this approach allows you to point out and celebrate those small steps that helped you overcome any obstacles. You share good comments for team leader actions that might otherwise go unappreciated, but certainly do matter.

5. Recognize Corporate Manners

In most cases, your praise for their efforts to move the organization or staff forward should follow standard business etiquette. The language should be framed within the corporate context, rather than something informal, such as, “You rock!” Link the praise to the company’s objectives, if appropriate, such as, ” You set a perfect path for our unit to meet third-quarter projections.”

Standards of business etiquette vary by work environment, corporate culture, and management styles. Even in a location with an informal work culture, you will frequently find it beneficial to share your gratitude in a way that recognizes your boss within the formal etiquette of the company, rather than as a written version of a pat on the shoulder of a drinking buddy. Words of gratitude delivered in an organized and professional manner carry great weight.

6. Conversely, Out-of-the-Box Praise Also Works

Not every statement of gratitude should be read as if it was drafted by the person who authored the company’s employee handbook. Depending on the character of your boss, the corporate culture, and the reasons for the compliment, you may want to strike a more informal, out-of-the-box tone. Use your judgment and understand the organizational dynamics involved.

7. Promote a Culture of Recognition

Positive relationships are strengthened when staff know how to compliment someone’s leadership. By providing honest praise as events merit, you play a role in nurturing a culture of recognition that may expand to other parts of the organization. While this is especially valuable in certain educational settings, the creation of a culture of recognition certainly benefits any corporate setting that wants employees at all levels to experience work satisfaction.

8. Keep It Specific, Rather than General

When you offer praise and gratitude, talk about a specific event to give your statement greater meaning and impact. If appropriate, connect your compliment with how aspects of your supervisor’s leadership tied into their vision and culture. While certainly appreciated, a general “thank you” has much less of an impact than words of gratitude that address very specific events, strategies, or accomplishments at the office.

9. Apply the “Praise Back” Method

A great way of how to compliment someone’s leadership is to respond in kind. The “praise back” approach happens after your boss gives you a compliment for how well you have accomplished some work-related duties. You immediately respond, usually building upon the compliment offered, such as by adding, “I was able to meet the goal due to the clear directions and support that you provided me.”

10. Praise Their Admirable Qualities

Another way to show your gratitude that goes beyond general pleasant words occurs when you tell them how much you appreciate certain qualities they possess. These qualities do not have to tie in directly with a single project or specific activity, but instead serve to illustrate the quality of their character. This is a way to show how to compliment someone’s leadership without falling into the pitfall of pandering or flattery.

11. Compliment Them about Something They Taught You

Draw upon the experience and explain how their leadership helped you learn or succeed in your endeavors. In addition to offering a genuine way to share your praise, this method also allows you to offer feedback and show how their actions exemplify the best in leadership.

Indeed, this may be a great example of how to compliment your boss in writing. You may include a narrative as part of your annual review or other written document that is used to measure your progress. Another option would be to outline their specific strengths in a formal acknowledgement included within a report, similar to the way that many authors share their appreciation for those who helped them see a manuscript get to the point of publication.

12. Seek Mentorship Opportunities

If the opportunity exists within your place of employment, one of the best ways to show your admiration for the leadership qualities of your boss would be to ask if they could serve as your mentor. Whether done formally within the company or as part of a leadership program, or informally through assignments that provide you with leadership experience, mentorship opportunities benefit all parties involved.

13. Consider Offering a Social Media Recommendation

You can also share awareness of your manager’s great work by posting it on appropriate social media outlets for professionals, such as their LinkedIn page. This allows their broader network to celebrate their abilities as a leader and manager, while sharing the information in a forum that is appropriate for work-related discussions.

Protocol should include confirming that your boss is comfortable with such a posting. Make sure that your employer does not frown upon such practices as well, since some corporate branding initiatives may choose to limit such endorsements without their review or approval. Finally, when considering how to compliment someone’s leadership, remember that an appreciative supervisor may also provide endorsements that may benefit your professional social media profile, as well.

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