Taking a Compliment Can Equal a Better Pay Raise

Do you often find yourself downplaying compliments?  Does this sound familiar?

Friend 1:  Hey you look great.   That new hairstyle works for you.

You:  Oh, I so wish my hair was thicker but this does seem to look okay.

Friend 2:  Wow, that’s a great dress. You really do have amazing fashion sense.

You:  This old thing.  I don’t even remember where I got it.  I pull it out for all the dressy events. I’m sure you will see it again and again.

 As a woman, you are not alone in our discomfort to accept a compliment.  Unfortunately, that trait that can be endearing in the world of friends and family can cost you in the work world.  Now, let’s see if either of the following sound familiar.

Manager 1:  Hey, great job on that report.  It really highlights the areas of opportunity for the company.  Some of them were way under the radar.

You:  Oh, it wasn’t just me.  The whole team pulled together to research the information.

Manager 2:  Thanks for working late on that project.

You:   Oh, it was nothing.

Both examples were “Atta Girl” moments that could influence the amount of your next pay raise.  However, when you downplay them you increase the likelihood your manager will downplay the situation as well.    I’m not suggesting you steal the spotlight from anyone.  I’m not suggesting that you lose the team player in you.  I’m just suggesting that you don’t deflect a compliment at work.

Let’s try the same two moments again but with different responses.

Manager 1:  Hey, great job on that report.  It really highlights the areas of opportunity for the company.  Some of them were way under the radar.

You:  Thanks.  It was really exciting to discover those opportunities.  I’m glad I could shine a light on them.

Manager 2:  Thanks for working late on that project.

You:   You’re welcome.

You have taken ownership of what you did and these moments now have a better opportunity to stick in your manager’s mind when annual performance review comes around.    You will want to remember these moments as well.  Start keeping an Atta Girl file in which you keep track of every time someone compliments your work.   I’ll discuss in another blog how to use your Atta Girl file during annual review or when looking for a new job.  For now, let’s talk about how to start accepting compliments.

Practice and keep track.  Whether a compliment comes from friends, family, colleagues, or strangers give a simple Thank You as a response. No more.  No less.   Your goal is to say Thank You ten (10) times.  Keep track of how many compliments you need to receive before you respond with 10 Thank Yous.  Don’t be shocked if it takes you thirty (30) or more. Once you accomplish that, do it again.  Hopefully, the number is closer to 10 than the first round.  Continue to keep track until you feel comfortable accepting compliments that are offered to you.   Once you are at that stage you will know that you are not unwittingly sabotaging yourself and your paycheck at work.


@ Copyright 2011, Katie Donovan. All rights reserved. Reproduction without explicit permission is prohibited