Hearing and listening are two different things but a lot of people confuse the two.
You might hear your boss say, “You are a good man” but if you were listening carefully you might also hear (In the same complimentary sentence) “But you really need to shape up if you intend to keep on working for me.”
Another “Take” on what I just wrote might be, “If your boss tells you that you are a good man or woman, you might hear the compliment in the statement but you would miss the “But I am suspicious of you and I am keeping my eye on you” part of it.
I have discovered, throughout life, that the best association with a “Boss” is the kind of association where the only time you hear from him or her is when he or she wants to give you a job-related suggestion, request or direction. (Assignment). Personal remarks from a “Boss” figure (whether complimentary or otherwise) need to be taken with a heightened awareness …. a red flag, if you prefer.
Some of those “You are a good person” remarks from a superior might very well be the opening salvo in an attempt to groom you for future unwanted sexual advances. If the remarks are followed by extra attentions (Little favors, little gifts, etc.) it would be well to grow eyes in the back of your head.
The situation is entirely different if the encouraging personal remarks from the Boss are included in a written report in connection with a regularly-scheduled performance evaluation or something of that nature. If that is the case, then I believe it is alright to accept the compliment as something of value ….. and something that can enhance your chances if ever you have to submit another resume to another department head or another employer.
Moving on …..
You might hear the croak of a frog but did you listen close enough to catch the music in it? Did you listen close enough to hear the “Help me, I am in danger” or the “Can you help me? I am hungry.” in it? Did you listen close enough to hear the little creature pleading with you, “I love you. Will you take me home with you please?” in it?
If you hear the downtrodden-looking scruffy little man on the street saying to you, “Hey buddy … can you spare a dollar so that I can get something to eat?” do you listen close enough to hear the hidden “If you pull your wallet out of your pocket, I am going to produce a knife and rob you?” Did you “Listen” close enough to “Hear” that part of it?
If you hear your favorite Right Wing Republican state governor telling you, “You are an American citizen and you deserve the best your government can do for you” did you listen close enough to hear, “But if you lose your electric, your water supply, your phone, your food source during a hard winter storm, that is on you …. that is your responsibility … your government isn’t going to do anything to help you because it is your responsibility?” Did you listen well enough when you cast your vote for that right-winger that you understood that the right winger you just voted for believes, with all his or her heart and soul, that it is not the responsibility of the elected government to provide for any of the needs of his or her constituency and that anything that government gives to its citizens is an unearned, undeserved hand-out that is not going to happen if the elected official has anything to say about it?
Did you listen hard enough at the polls to hear that part?