It's National Bosses Day -- How Should You Celebrate?

National Bosses Day celebrationBy Victoria Washington

Supervisors can help advance careers, recommend pay raises, and create thriving work environments. Clearly, bosses have an effect on the everyday lives of their employees.

What may not be so clear is how to appropriately acknowledge your boss for his or her role at your office. National Bosses Day will be celebrated this year on Oct. 17, giving workers a perfect opportunity to praise supervisors without looking like the proverbial "kiss-ups."

Bosses appreciate positive recognition as much as anyone else. But should you throw a party, buy a gift, or simply utter "great work" as the boss passes by? While the answer depends on the size and culture of your office, you won't go wrong by keeping the gesture honest, fun, and simple.

Any event planned should focus on the supervisor, but it's also a good time for employees to relax, mingle, and spend a few minutes talking with each other or the boss without the normal work pressures. Before the office get-together, pass around a card for employees to sign. Workers also can pitch in for a cake or other snacks to be served during the office gathering. Say a few words about why you appreciate your boss, but remember the event isn't a roast or a tribute: Keep it short and sweet.

In lieu of a party, take the boss out to lunch. Another idea is to hand out awards to all supervisors in the office. Keep the awards light-hearted: honor the funniest boss, the best-dressed boss, or the coolest boss.

In most circumstances, gifts are a fine idea, especially if they come from a group of workers. Make sure all officemates have a chance to donate to the gift fund and keep the cost of the gift at $50 or less. The more personal the gift, the better. For instance, does she enjoy drinking tea? A gift basket with a mug might work. Is he a weekend athlete? Then a gift certificate to a sporting goods store might be the perfect "thank you."

Be cautious about giving personal gifts because they could lead to awkward moments, office rumors, or other issues you want to avoid. If you are friends with the boss and want to give him/her a personal gift, make sure to do it away from the office.

A simple card signed by the staff is another way to say "we appreciate you." Select a card that fits the supervisor's personality, then hand-write a note containing specific examples of the supervisor's contributions. Is he a great communicator or motivator? Is she a good listener and leader? Once everyone has had a chance to sign the card, gather a group and deliver it to the boss.

It also is appropriate to offer a "Happy Bosses Day! Thanks for everything you do" greeting as you pass by your supervisor in the hallway. The gesture may be informal, but if the sentiment is sincere, the boss will know and appreciate the overture. Even an e-mail, though less personal, is better than no recognition at all.

Of course not everyone has a supervisor they admire. When Patricia Bays Haroski registered National Bosses Day with the United States Chamber of Commerce in 1958, she not only wanted to show appreciation for bosses but also hoped the day would improve relationships between supervisors and employees.

If you are in the "don't like the boss" category, use the day to get to know your supervisor better and begin developing a better relationship with him. Don't focus on personality traits you might find annoying, but instead on the good your supervisor brings to the office. Take the initiative to tell him that you appreciate what he does and ask how you might better assist him to get the job done.

Victoria Washington is an expert career coordinator with Computer Systems Institute in Chicago, a postsecondary education provider committed to quality, career-focused learning.

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