Way back in 1958, Boss’s Day was created to strengthen the bond between employers and employees. On this day, employees get to show their appreciation to their managers, bosses or supervisors for all the hard work they do for their employees. One of the hallmarks of a good boss is a caring attitude; anyone can be promoted and give orders, but a good boss cares about how the people in his or her department fare on a daily basis. As Theodore Roosevelt once said, ‘Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care’.
October 16 is National Boss’s Day, a time to recognize those great bosses out there for the excellent work they do. For some relaxed, casual offices it’s a fun, happy celebration of an exceptional manager. For others, it can be an awkward, possibly uncomfortable day that creates palpable tension in the office. The issue is often related to gift giving. Although it makes sense to celebrate a great manager, the etiquette around Boss’s Day can be tricky. Should employees really be expected to spend money on someone who makes more than they do? Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind when deciding what to get for that brilliant boss:
Choose an appropriate gift. An office-appropriate gift such as a personalized notepad, stationery, notecards, or pad and pen set are always a safe bet. You can probably get away with a more creative gift if you have a laid-back, casual office vibe, but don’t get too silly. There are gifts that are never appropriate, such as super personal gifts like clothing, jewelry, alcoholic gifts, or gag gifts. It’s also wise to steer away from religious, racial, or sexual overtones. There may already be a company policy in place regarding office gifts, so be sure to check your employee handbook for any specific rules on gift giving.
Don’t publicize your gift giving. This may seem like a common sense guideline, but it needs to be said. If you decide to give your manager a gift on Boss’s Day, don’t advertise the fact to your co-workers. This can not only seem like bragging but can make your fellow workers uncomfortable. It can create pressure for them to do likewise, when they may not be comfortable giving the boss a gift. People raised in different cultures see gift giving differently, and you may be causing your co-workers undue stress by making them feel like they should be giving a gift to your boss, as well.
Don’t take up a collection. For the same reason as keeping your gift-giving decisions to yourself, asking for other employees to pitch in for a single gift for the office manager or company president is a bad idea. Asking for donations can make others feel unnecessarily awkward, especially if they say “no”. People spend and save differently and have various financial obligations. You don’t know everyone else’s personal financial situation. Perhaps your co-worker is barely making ends meet, and the pressure of donating to a gift fund for the boss would put undue stress on an already tight budget. The truth is, fellow employees can have any number of reasons for declining, and you never want to make someone feel as if they’ll appear cheap or selfish for not participating, so it’s better for everyone not ask to begin with.
Do something everyone can take part in and enjoy. Instead of giving a gift on Boss’s Day, consider baking or buying a cake with a simple “Thanks for all you do for us” message on top. Surprise the boss by inviting them to the breakroom to witness the unveiling, then serve up the treat for the entire office staff to enjoy. You can present a thank you card “from all of us” without asking everyone to sign it or write a personal note. This helps avoid any awkwardness and includes everyone in the celebration.
Good leadership is a key to employee satisfaction, so if your office is full of satisfied employees it’s probably due in large part to how your boss manages both their responsibilities and company personnel, and that’s always worth celebrating. This October 16th, celebrate your boss and let them know how much you appreciate their daily efforts to make the office a better place for everyone.