Boss compliments Femsy with her excellent presentation at the management meeting. She responds by saying: “I really did not do much at all. Billy gave me the numbers and Betsy did most of the analysis”.

(Click on the pictures to see them in full size)

A great leader:

  • Has confidence in her abilities and is well balanced;
  • Comfortably markets herself and pitches herself to the situation;
  • Knows her self-worth and appreciates acknowledgement.

How to best handle the situation:

Everybody is eager to receive a compliment; especially from someone you admire. Accepting a compliment gracefully though, is a challenge for many women. Our biggest fear is that, by accepting the compliment, we will appear arrogant.

We respond by talking about the things we could have done better, ask for additional

Re-assurance (“Really?”), we downplay our work (“Anyone could have done this”), change the topic or put others in the spotlight in our place.

You may not be the only one who deserves to be complimented on a job well done, but you are part of the group’s success too. Don’t say: “Betsy and Billy deserve all the credit”. Instead say: “Thank you so much, I am sure Betsy and Billy will appreciate hearing that too”.

When you downplay a compliment, you may feel that you are showing humility. Instead, it may make the person who gave the compliment feel personally rejected.

A compliment is a gift! If someone compliments you, believe it and accept it with grace.

Learning suggestions:

  • Giving and receiving praise helps to guide us towards our goals and strengthens our relationships along the way. When someone says something nice thank him/her sincerely and remember you deserve it;
  • Take people at their word. Don’t argue or attempt to qualify the compliment. Even when you disagree with the reason for the compliment don’t insult the speaker;
  • Don’t downplay a compliment in any way. Not sure what to say, try these responses:
    • For a job well done: “Thank you! I was hoping this was what you were looking for. I really like it too”;
    • For helping out: “Thank you! I’m so glad that I could help”;
    • If you caught a mistake that was missed by others: “Thank you for noticing. I’m glad I caught it too”;
    • Or just: “Thank you! I appreciate it”.
  • Share the compliment with the relevant team members. If you could not have done something you have been complimented for without them, say so. Celebrate success;
  • Don’t offer a compliment in return unless you mean it;
  • Stay up to date with social media: People may say good things about you in the digital world too. Offer prompt and heartfelt thank the same way as you would do at home or in the office;


Do you have any tips on how to gracefully take a compliment? Share them with us in the comment section.

Femcommunity tips:

We welcome your thoughts, experiences and comments on how you would deal with such a situation.


Read more about Co-Colours and Co-Colours Team.


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