Particularly in the work place, most Europeans expect to be complimented for their good work effort. In Britain, if we didn’t get a compliment when we expected one, we might ask if everything was okay. Some people look at this negatively as “fishing for compliments”, but it’s quite a healthy practice to ensure that you get some peace-of-mind from some on-the-spot feedback about your work performance, so as not to go home on the weekend feeling unloved and unappreciated.
In Germany, don’t expect to get many compliments at work. If you do get a compliment, then it’s likely that your manager was astounded by what you were working on or – maybe – he had spent some time on an inter-cultural training course and learnt how to communicate with you better. In the case of the latter, you should praise him on his commitment in striving to be a better manager.
Just for the record, no comment from your German manager normally implies that everything’s all right and he’s happy with your work. If, however, he’s critical about what you have been working on, then you should perhaps pay attention to what he’s saying. A criticism does not necessarily imply that he’s unhappy with you, but he might expect to see some improvement in certain areas when you embark on your next project.