Years ago, I reported to a manager who for reasons that will become clear must remain anonymous. So, I'll just call him "George."

I was meeting with George in his office, and when I asked him how I was doing in my job, he replied, “You are doing just fine.” I asked how I would know that. And he said, “We have our performance review once a year.” I told him that I needed positive feedback now and then, inbetween annual reviews. And George then said something I will never forget:

“I am not going to compliment you for something we pay you to do.”

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So, here is my question: Why are managers so stingy with praise and positive feedback? Compliments are free, and it's not like a “thank you” budget exists (that I know of).