How to Compliment Colleagues at Work in English

May 23, 2018 | Business Professional English

Today we’re talking all about how to compliment colleagues at work but first… I have a question for you: what is the best compliment you’ve ever received at work?

Was it a compliment on an unexpected success that you had, like exceeding a sales goal? Or perhaps you avoided a disaster with an upset customer? Did you do something to help a colleague who was sick or totally stressed at work?

How did it make you feel to receive that compliment?

Some words that might describe that feeling are:

  • Proud
  • Elated
  • Content
  • Satisfied
  • Accomplished

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to give someone else those feelings when they do something well?


Sometimes giving compliments in a second language feels a little awkward. You might not be sure of the right words to say.

And will the other person understand what you mean? Will it sound correct?

But then, if you don’t say something, you feel bad. You might worry that your colleague thinks you’re unkind or unfriendly.


Here’s the good news: we’re going to learn exactly how you can and should compliment colleagues at work with 4 clear examples.

You’ll get the right phrases to use so that you’re correct, easy to understand, and able to show that you appreciate something they did.

The best news is, compliments are free. With a compliment, you’ll give your colleague the gift of feeling proud, elated, or satisfied. And that is one of the kindest things you can do for someone.

Four great ways to compliment colleagues at work.

Lesson by Annemarie

Compliment Colleagues at Work—4 Examples

Situation One: Your colleague does you a favor

  • I couldn’t have met this deadline without you and that would have been a disaster. Thank you for helping me accomplish this.
  • I couldn’t have attended my daughter’s concert without your help and she would have been so hurt if I wasn’t there. Thank you for making it possible for me to go.

Situation Two: Your colleague saved the day

  • If you hadn’t listened to the client and found a way to resolve the problem, we would all be looking for new jobs soon.
  • If you hadn’t noticed that accounting error, we would have lost 10% of our profit this month.

Situation 3: Your colleague exceeded expectations

  • Thank you for working through the weekend. I know that wasn’t easy but because of you, we’ll complete the project on time. I owe you one. (I owe you one is an idiom that means it is my turn to do you a favor.)
  • Thank you for working late to finish editing this report. Without your extra time and dedication, we might have missed the errors you found.

Situation 4: Your colleague improves the atmosphere or culture of the workplace

  • You always have the right words to say, thank you.
  • You know exactly how to make us laugh when we need it the most. Thank you.
  • I appreciate that you always help us to see the positive.
  • Your optimism is what our office/team needs.

Of course, there are endless compliments we can and should give colleagues at work, but this is a great list to get you started.

Now that you’ve had a chance to review the lesson, I’d love to hear from you.

Here is this week’s question:

What is the best compliment you’ve ever received at work? Share your compliment below. It’s the perfect opportunity to relive that moment. And, your words might be exactly what someone else in our community needs.

You can share your answer in the comments section below, at the end of the lesson. This where you can get feedback from me and learn from others in the Confident English Community.

Have a great week! And be sure to compliment a colleague this week!

~ Annemarie

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