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Boss Day

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What's National Boss Day? How Did It Start?

Patricia Haroski, a secretary from Deerfield IL, originated National Boss Day in 1958. "I had worked for a large company and noticed that they never had a regular date set to pay tribute to our bosses," Haroski wrote in 1970. "I made inquiries, and through my network of secretaries, decided to establish a day in their honor. Reflecting on how my father had helped his white-collar daughters and sons many times with their problems concerning their work, I decided to register his birthday, October 16, as 'The Day.' In 1958, I gave it some authority by registering October 16 as National Boss Day with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. In 1962, Illinois Governor Otto Kerner proclaimed the day. This observance is fun for our bosses, and they do a lot of smiling that day."


Common observes of National Boss Day (aka "Bosses Day") include giving a greeting card, gift, or some other token of appreciation to the "boss" (managers, supervisors or executives). Some organizations hold group activities such as executive appreciation events or boss-of-the-year presentations.


Ideas for Celebrating the National Boss Day


Administrative professionals participating in the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAPP) online discussion forums cited the following examples of National Boss Day observances:

  • "At my company we usually have a luncheon featuring an educational or motivational speaker and we give our bosses gifts."
  • "I usually give my boss a book relating to leadership or a framed motivational message."
  • "I give a greeting card or note of appreciation to my executive. We work well together as a team, and he deserves the recognition."
  • "Our IAAP chapter holds an executive appreciation breakfast every year. We also award an Executive of the Year plaque. The chapter members nominate their executives with a letter detailing their background, education, and community service activities. The winner is chosen by a committee of the assistants of the three previous winners. The winning boss really seems to appreciate it."
  • "We are planning a National Boss Day event that will feature awards for funniest boss, coolest boss, best dressed boss and most supportive boss. We received rave reviews for this event last year, from both the bosses and staff."
  • "I surprised our branch manager with a card signed by our office staff. We also pitched in for donuts for the entire staff of 60. This is one way we celebrate little successes throughout the year -- and it helps to keep morale up. I also bought a card for my immediate supervisor."
  • "Last year, a local hotel co-sponsored our IAAP chapter Bosses Day event. The VP of Human Resources of a large hotel company spoke on stellar customer service, and related it to how we as admins regularly provide such service to our executives and work groups. Our executives were also reminded how much they appreciate us."


How to Motivate Your Boss

Until recently, almost all writings on motivation were designed to give the manager techniques to motivate his or her staff. It was assumed that motivation was a one-way street that runs from top to bottom. The same thing used to be thought of communication, until someone discovered that it was a two-way street. The new thinking says that employees should be concerned about motivating their bosses, and should not take a passive role toward this issue. But how do you motivate your boss? Here are some of the most effective ways:

1- TAKE THE INITIATIVE: Don't wait for your boss to "give" you work. Find out what needs to be done and suggest to your boss that you do it.

2- GENERATE NEW IDEAS: Think of better ways to do the work in your area and outside of your area too, and tell your boss about it.

3- OFFER YOUR HELP: Your boss needs your support and help. Show her that you're there to provide full support.

4- ASK YOUR BOSS TO DELEGATE: Your boss might not be aware that you are ready to assume more responsibilities and take on new challenges. Ask the boss to delegate responsibilities you think you can take on.

5- OFFER SOLUTIONS: Don't limit your contacts with the boss to the times you bring up a problem or a request for help. Bosses need to hear solutions, not just problems.

6- OFFER COMPLIMENTS: The boss is human. She needs to receive compliments when she does something truly outstanding, or when she helps you in a positive way. Don't worry that it might sound insincere. Compliments, done in good taste and for a good reason, are always appreciated as long as you don't over do it.

7- SHOW COMMITMENT: It's important for the boss to know that you care about your work, about the organization, and about the boss. Show that you care, in words and in action. Go out of your way to provide good service and promote the company, and the department's name.

8- STAY POSITIVE: Employees who talk and act in a negative way can depress people around them, including the boss. It's important for your own mental health and for that of others that you stay positive and enthusiastic. Try saying "Thank God It's Monday" instead of the usual "Friday" reference. But it's a matter of your general attitude, not just what you say. If you want a positive relationship with your boss, be positive yourself.

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