How to Write a Thank You Note to Your Boss

Your boss is your leader. Your friend, your cheerleader, and sometimes a trusted advisor. But they’re so much more than that.

They’re the one that makes sure your family gets food on their table, that you get days off when you’re sick, and the one that helps you look good whenever they can. If you have one of these bosses, consider yourself blessed. Not everyone does.

A good boss loves treating employees well, but their kindness can sometimes burn out. A boss needs encouragement and positive feedback just as much as you. But how can you give it?

It can feel awkward and inappropriate to give praise to your boss. But it doesn’t have to be! The solution is simpler than everyone thinks.

If you want to express appreciation, write a thank you note to your boss! Not sure how? Get some ideas below!

When is a Thank You Note to Your Boss Appropriate?

Like in life, there aren’t any concrete answers. The appropriateness of a thank you note depends on your relationship, their personality, and the note’s timing.

Not all of those things are in your control. The best way to avoid any well-meaning but awkward scenarios is to follow one of the formats below:

How to Write a Thank you Note to Your Boss

Step 1: Pick an Occasion

When writing any sort of note, you want to avoid long rambling sentiments. Having an occasion or one central event helps direct your appreciation and make it easier to digest.

Before you sit down and write the note, ask yourself what you’d like to convey. Is it an appreciation for letting you work on a project? Thanking your boss for a promotion? Or are you leaving and will miss them once you’re away? That’s your event.

Step 2: Stay Organized

Once you know the event you’re addressing in your thank you note to your boss, think about how you want to address it. Is it going to be short and sweet?

Ordo you have the kind of relationship where you can expand on how their actions impacted your personal circumstances?

Create a thesis statement for the card, the main idea you want to get across. Then only write as much as you need to introduce and transition out of that point. For example, “You letting me work on the Chilean project made me feel appreciated and part of the team”.

Step 3: Choose Compliments With Care

The difference between a thank you note and a love note isn’t that big. A thank you note is like a love note to an event or action while a love note addresses the characteristics of a person. What do we mean?

Here’s an example of each kind of note:

Love note: You are the nicest and most caring person I’ve ever met. I don’t know how I would come to work every day without you here.

Thank you note: Your kind and caring leadership style make me appreciate working in your/this department. Addressing styles or actions instead of personality aspects keeps your thank you note to your boss safely out of the creepy zone.

Now that you know the general structure, let’s address more event-specific tips below.

Event-Specific Tips

You’re Leaving

If you’re moving on in your career and leaving a great boss behind, it’s great practice to write a thank you note. Not only will you leave on a good foot, but your boss will be more likely to think of you fondly in the future. (Think recommendation calls/letters)

As long as you’re leaving on your own accord and on a good foot, it’s appropriate to leave a thank you note.

A farewell thank you note could look something like this:


As my time at ABC Company comes to a close, I wanted to express my appreciation for you as a boss. Under your leadership, I’ve grown as a professional and gained more confidence in my skills than I thought possible.

As a boss, you’ve always been kind and understanding and I believe that was a big part of my professional growth. I will take what you’ve taught me into this next job and miss your motivational quotes at the water cooler.

Best Wishes, (Your name)”

This format works if your boss is leaving as well. Just flip the wording to match!

You Got a Promotion

If you boss helped you get a promotion or submitted your name to someone else, they deserve a thank you. If they aren’t the highest point in management they had to defend their choice and paid you many unheard compliments. Thank them for their hard work and confidence in you. Follow the style below!

“Dear Sharon,

Thank you so much for submitting me to my now promotion. I felt capable of the extra responsibilities but your confidence in me was the boost I needed! This new promotion will bring me so many new opportunities and I have you to thank. I appreciate your trust in me and will work hard to keep it. Thank you for the opportunity, I’ll do my best to live up to your expectations in this new position.

Thanks Again, (Your name)”

Most companies keep files on each employee, whether digital or physical. When you write a thank you note, a copy gets placed in your file. If management changes down the line and you’ve moved on, they’ll check your file before providing a recommendation. The thank you note that took you five minutes to write will leave them a good impression and they’ll be more likely to provide you a good recommendation.

In Closing

Writing a thank you note to your boss is a good idea as long as you follow these guidelines. A well-written note will help you in the future, make your bosses day, and improve your relationship with them. For extra oomph, write the note on nice stationary, by hand. This extra touch will make the note seem more heartfelt and special, especially in this digital culture.

Good luck and happy writing!

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