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How to Write an Appreciation Letter to Your Boss

We all want to feel recognized for our efforts, especially at work. When you’re focused on winning your boss’ approval, it might not occur to you to acknowledge them for what they’ve done to help you. In certain situations, sending a formal appreciation letter to your boss is both the polite and the professional thing to do. We’ll explain how to accomplish it in a sincere, polished manner.

What is an appreciation letter?

An appreciation letter is a note that expresses your gratitude for something your boss has done for you. It might be career-related, like giving you a promotion, or something personal, like accommodating when you needed extra time off. 

An appreciation letter can be sent via email, but sometimes giving a handwritten note is even more meaningful.

Why it’s important to send a thank you letter to your boss

Just as it’s the norm to send a thank you note when someone gives you a gift, sending a letter of appreciation is polite when your boss goes out of their way to help you or show you kindness at work. It’s pretty universal that people enjoy knowing when their actions were appreciated. 

An appreciation letter also contributes to your boss’ positive impression of you. They’ll be more likely to consider you for opportunities and favors in the future if they know their past efforts made an impact.

When should you send a letter of appreciation

It’s appropriate to send a letter of appreciation when your boss:

Provides an opportunity

Promotions, raises, and professional development opportunities don’t usually happen without your boss giving them the green light. A formal thank you lets them know their help didn’t go unnoticed.

Does you have a favor

While you don’t need to send an appreciation letter for every small favor, it’s a good idea to recognize when your boss goes above and beyond to help you out, like pushing back a deadline so it doesn’t interfere with your upcoming vacation.

Offers a kind gesture

When bad things happen–the death of a loved one, for instance–the boss often coordinates sending a flower arrangement or a condolence card from the office. If this happens and you’re the recipient, it’s nice to let your manager know how much the gesture meant to you.

The same goes for other niceties like giving you a birthday or anniversary gift, donating to a cause you’re championing, or lending a listening ear when you need support.

Is leaving the department or company

If your boss is moving into a more senior position or retiring, it’s the perfect time to write them an appreciation letter highlighting the biggest ways they’ve made a positive impact on your time with the company.

What to include in an appreciation letter you your boss

Your gratitude

Begin by clearly stating the reason for your letter and using a phrase like ‘thank you for…’ or ‘I really appreciate…’

Specific details

Give a bit more context on how their actions benefited you and why it was important.

A warm closing

That’s it! Not too much is required for a great appreciation letter. Brief and heartfelt is best.

What you should omit

Overly emotional language or pandering

You don’t want to come across as phony or patronizing, so don’t gush. Keep your letter succinct and sincere.

Sample Appreciation letters to your boss

Formal example

Mr. Michaels, 

I wanted to take a moment to express my sincere thanks for my recent promotion to sales lead. I know you had a lot of qualified external candidates to choose from and that you were taking a chance by selecting a less experienced internal candidate. I value your faith in me and won’t disappoint you. 

I greatly appreciate your coaching and look forward to the continued learning opportunities this new position will offer me. 


Jonathan Spangler

Informal example


I really appreciate you approving my time off request for Friday. I know it’s short notice, and you had to pull some strings to cover my shift. Having me chaperone her field trip will mean the world to my daughter. 

Thanks again, 


As you can see, different styles and levels of formality can work equally well to communicate your message. The important thing is to match the tone of your letter to the overall vibe of your relationship with your boss and use natural language. 

Your boss will feel glad they tried to help you, and you’ll enjoy a continued positive relationship with your supervisor.