The February 2015 edition of the magazine Deutsch Perfekt, published by Spotlight, whose target audience consists of people interested in learning German, contained an article dedicated to the topic of praise in the workplace:
“Praising appropriately: It is clear that praise is an important aspect of a team which works together well. So how can one give more praise in the German everyday workplace, and still be taken seriously?
In Germany, praise is something special. Great praise is not given for small deeds. Positive feedback is only given when something was truly good – differently from many other cultures.
Many foreign co-workers quickly become aware of how little praise is given during everyday life in Germany. What is interesting, however, is that the majority of Germans who were surveyed also stated that they received too little praise at their place of work.
However, if too much praise is given, the one being praised can quickly becomes distrustful of the statements. If Germans are not themselves convinced that they have done something special, but still receive praise, it is not credible to them. In such cases, Germans will simply not take the praise seriously.
For this reason you should formulate your praise precisely: What was good? Why did you like it? Praise (like criticism) should always be concrete and specific. In this way, it becomes more understandable to the recipient.”