pat on the back

A pat on the back is usually a literal term where you will pat someone on the back in order to show them praise and give them a sense of a job well done. A pat on the back can also be used more figuratively in that the person is getting praise for a job well done in another way such as telling them verbally they did a good job, or even getting some kind of reward or compensation for completing their task or getting praise for something they did very well.