How to Respond to Work-Related Praise

How to Take a Compliment Gracefully | CorporetteHow do you respond when someone praises your work — without sounding like an entitled braggart (and without undermining yourself)? Reader T has a great question about compliments at work.

My question for you is, how do you respond to a co-worker (sometimes a supervisor) telling you they’ve heard great comments/feedback about your work? I’m confused as to whether this is a compliment you simply say thank you to, or is there more we should add? (i.e. I appreciate the opportunity to learn) It’s not a direct compliment, yet somehow is one. I often feel the need to justify the passed-along compliment with an explanation, yet sometimes I inadvertently undermine my own efforts and achievements.

First, that absolutely is praise, so congrats to Reader T.  I’m curious to hear what the readers say about whether you can undermine yourself with your response to praise. For my own $.02 — particularly as someone with an overactive imposter syndrome — I’ve definitely been tempted to respond with things like, “It was a team effort!” or “___ really helped by supervising me,” or “I was really lucky to find the answer so quickly!”

Maybe it’s a facet of age or experience (or just writing and reading about this stuff), but I’m pretty sure that my more recent response to any work-related praise has been (and will be) more along the following lines: Thanks. I’m glad you’re hearing good things. It was a fun project and I’m happy to get started on a new one. All said with a smile but not necessarily exclamation points. I feel like these responses don’t undermine your work by attributing luck or someone else.  Maybe it’s just me, but none of these responses really smack of WHY YES I AM A GENIUS HOW NICE OF YOU TO NOTICE.

I’m curious, readers — do you inadvertently undermine your own efforts and achievements, either by being overly humble or letting your imposter complex take over?  Do you notice other people doing it?

Pictured: Thank You, originally uploaded to Flickr by HelloJenuine (also available for sale at Etsy).

How to Become a Leader

How Women Can Become Leaders | CorporetteReader S has a great question about how to grow her leadership skills as a young female executive…

I’m not sure if this has been discussed before, but I’m looking for recommendations–either from you or your readers–on some good leadership skills workshops/trainings/webinars. I’ve recently been promoted to the executive team at my company. While my initial reaction was excitement, I’m now starting to feel a bit out of place at times. The promotion was given to me as a “stretch” role, which the CEO defined as a bit of a leap of faith. He’s confident that I’ll be comfortable in the role and gain the skills necessary in short time, but ever the over-achiever, I want to quell my discomfort ASAP!

I’m finding myself acting a bit more assertive and, well, tough in the negative as opposed to assertive and confident. It’s a natural “defend my right to the role” mentality whenever I’m questioned on anything. But, I know signs of a true leader are to emit the entitlement to the role through leadership and confidence.

On top of all this, I’m somewhat young (35–the youngest member of the exec team) and am a mom to 2 children (4yo and 18mo). I’m wondering if there are any good leads or advice from working women in similar situations?

Huge congrats — this sounds like a great accomplishment, and I applaud you for trying to stretch yourself to get to the next level.  I think this is a great question, because it can be difficult to grow your leadership skills. Ultimately, I think Reader S needs to focus on a) what you think you’re doing well (so you can play to your strengths), b) what you think you need to work on (so you know where to focus your reading) and c) who to ask for feedback (and when) so that you have someone else giving you some feedback also. (Pictured: Follow the leader, originally uploaded to Flickr by jtu.) [Read more...]

Weekly Roundup

Liking these posts? Follow Corporette on Twitter — this is the edited version of what we’re reading! (We also Tweet if we hear about a good sale.)

  • The 2009 International Best Dressed List has arrived, from Vanity Fair.  We don’t know much about H.R.H. Princess Letizia of Asturias, but we love her white suit (pictured).
  • Ms. JD wonders if flex time will get you laid off.  Meanwhile, the WSJ’s Juggle reports that a recent study found that women underestimate their performance on the job three times as much as men.
  • Wow: we did not realize that J.Crew bought Loro Piana wool and cashmere.  The WSJ’s Christina Binkley examines the differences between a $1,750 sweater and a $298 sweater.
  • The NYT advises how to stay fit when eating is your job — perhaps worthwhile advice for the rest of us, too!
  • WiseBread counsels how to reset your sleep cycle in a single night.
  • Miss Manners opines on napkin etiquette.
  • Weekly Roundup

    Liking these posts? Follow Corporette on Twitter — this is the edited version of what we’re reading! (We also Tweet if we hear about a good sale.)

    - We’re kind of against this kind of analysis, but we would be remiss if we didn’t point you to WaPo’s critique of Sonia Sotomayor’s fashion choices, followed by Fashionista‘s and Jezebel’s critiques of the WaPo for not running similar stories about Alito or Roberts.

    - Fake it till you make it: The Simple Dollar advises on ten ways to improve your appearance of confidence.

    - The Harvard Business Blog advises how to be super productive at work. (Hat tip to Lifehacker.)

    - The Frugal Duchess breaks down Kiplinger‘s annoying slideshow on when to save money, on what.