5 Critical Mistakes to Avoid When Thanking Your Boss

Expressing gratitude to your boss can be fantastic if done correctly. Most people, which includes bosses, are grateful when shown appreciation and recognition.

However, you should avoid a few mistakes when thanking your boss.

Mistake #1: Comparisons To Another Boss

One of the worst mistakes you can make when writing a thank you note to your boss is comparing your boss to a former boss.

Avoid comments such as “I like you so much better than John.” or “You’re so much better at managing the team than Violet was.” 

While you may have these opinions, the comparisons aren’t thanking them for what they’ve done directly. Instead, they can make you sound like a bitter employee, and comparisons can hurt your career. 

Instead, you should write a thank you message to them for something specific. For example:

  • Did your boss help you recently?
  • Did they take you or the team out for lunch?
  • Do you need to say thank you for a raise?
  • Did the boss give you a gift? 

Appropriate wording looks like this:

Boss Name,

Thank you for helping me when I was struggling with the reporting tool. I appreciate you for taking the time to stop by my desk and troubleshoot the issue. You have a fantastic knack for quickly solving problems. 

Best Regards,

Your Name

Mistake #2: Sounding Like A Brownnoser

Over-the-top flattery can be a turnoff and backfire. While we want to be well-liked by our bosses, they may see through compliments that are not sincere. 

Just don’t do it.

When thanking your boss, only include sincere compliments. You can also keep your message short and to the point expressing your gratitude for something specific as a way not to include unnecessary fluff.  

Thank you for the team lunch. I enjoyed it.

I learned many tips from your presentation at the quarterly meeting. Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us. 

Thank you for the birthday gift! I was surprised to find the card with the [Restaurant Name] gift card on my desk this morning.

Mistake #3: Asking For Their Home Address

You may be tempted to ask your boss for their home address when writing them a thank you note. After all, handwritten thank-you cards can stand out as they take more time and effort to write. 

However, asking your boss for their home address is usually poor workplace etiquette. In addition, the request for personal information may go against HR policies. 

While asking a boss for their address might be acceptable for a formal invitation, such as your wedding, it’s not necessary for a thank-you note.

Your best professional options are sending a thank-you email or instant message when you work in a different location than your boss.

And if you are in the same location, you take a handwritten note card to their desk, send an email, or use an instant message.

Mistake #4: Including Confidential Information

Another blunder to avoid is including anything confidential in your thank you message. This situation comes up most often when saying thank you for a bonus or raise.

While your thank-you note is only intended for your boss’s eyes, someone else may see it. The other person could have received a lesser amount than you or nothing at all. 

The easiest way to avoid extra drama is to leave out the amount or percentage. Most likely, your boss will already know how much you were given or can find out. 

Mistake #5: Spelling Their Name Wrong

This tiny infraction can be the worst. So while you may say your boss’s name often, you should pay attention to the correct spelling. 

Spelling their name correctly shows respect and that you pay attention to details. 

You can check their email signature to make sure you have it right. If you are writing a thank you email or instant message, you can copy and paste their name to eliminate any chance of spelling it wrong. 

Read the Complete Guide to Writing Thank You Notes for Your Boss for more tips and example messages.

This article originally appeared on Tons of Thanks

Author: Heidi Bender

Title: Writer

Expertise: Thank You Notes


Heidi Bender is a writer and author who founded Tons of Thanks. She aims to help people write thank-you notes by providing examples and tips. She is the author of She is the author of A Modern Guide to Writing Thank-You Notes.