Communicating Appreciation to Your Boss (Boss’s Day is coming up!)
Boss’s Day is coming up soon, in two weeks, on Monday, October 17. And no, it isn’t one of those appreciation days that was created recently by Hallmark, the National Association of Employers, or some other group with a potential secondary gain. (Boss’s Day was first instituted in 1958, by a secretary for an insurance company, if you want to know.)
The key questions, if you are an employee, are: 1) Should I do something for my boss? 2) If so, what? 3) How do I keep from looking like I am just “sucking up” to her or him?
Let us give you a quick way to think through the decisions.
- It would be good to do something for your boss if you do appreciate something about her or him, and/or if you want to improve your relationship with them. If there is nothing you like about your boss or if you are in the midst of major conflict, pass. It is better to do nothing than to go through the motions and try to fake it.
- What should you do? It is largely up to you. What would feel genuine coming from you? How much time, energy or money do you want to invest in the process? Generally, it is better to do a little something that is meaningful (either to you, or to them) than to do some action that looks like it is for show. Most people value an action that seems to have taken some time and thought (rather than the last “Happy Boss’s Day” card from the grocery store) and has to do with them personally.
- How to not look like you are just trying to impress them. Take some time and identify either: a) a character quality you value that you see in your boss; b) an action they completed that impacted you positively; or c) something about your boss that you respect. Then get a card, make a card, get a small gift of something they like and attach a card — and just tell them thanks for … (a, b or c above). It doesn’t have to be long, life-changing, or super fancy (your writing should be legible — especially your signature).
Another option is to go together with one or more colleagues and get your boss a card or gift as a group — in fact, you could initiate and ask if anyone wants to “go in” with you. That makes it less focused on you. (By the way, it would be good to find out how they like to be shown appreciation — you could maybe fund ($15) having them take the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory to find out.)
Finally, do not, under any circumstances, make a reference (even in joking) to “don’t forget me at bonus time” or something equally offensive. This is about your appreciation for them, not about getting a payback at some point in the future.
Tags: boss, Boss's Day, engagement, Manager, supervisor
Categories 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace, Authenticity, Communication, Gratitude, Recognition, Relationships