How many of you are uncomfortable receiving public praise? How do you generally respond when people thank you or give you praise? Isn't it strange that the one thing humans desire greatly, to be valued, causes so much discomfort when it happens?
How did it become so? When did we all get taught that getting a compliment isn't the best thing in the world and to be grateful for them? I don't know about most people, but for me, I learned it when I learned that "Pride goeth before the fall." Who thought that was a good idea? I mean, excess pride is a bad idea. I get that, but having reasonable pride in yourself and your work is a good thing, right? As a female, I think that I have been given a little too much warning on having pride, especially in my work-life. I have been taught that no one likes a person who speaks highly of themselves. I have been taught by my managers in reviews that no one can attain the highest score for their work because you're really just doing your job, right? It's all a lie.
When someone pays you a compliment on your work performance, they most likely really mean it. You did something that they think deserves recognition. To pass off their praise as not necessary or really not being earned, you're doing them an injustice, IMHO. Instead of looking away and playing it down, look them in the eye and say "Thank you." That's all you need to do. You don't need to explain yourself or qualify your achievement. Just roll with it.
If the compliment doesn't seem genuine, say "Thank you." anyway. If someone continues to pay you insincere compliments, you should speak to them. They're trying to butter you up for something or are hiding something about themselves by trying to distract you. Talk to the person and see if you can figure out what's really going on. Maybe you intimidate them, making them feel insecure. Maybe they feel like if they praise you all the time, you'll like them. There are as many reasons for insincere praise as there are for sincere. Talking to people to help understand their motives can help you be a more in touch and emotionally savvy person and that is never a bad thing.