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Patricia Bays Haroski who worked for her father in a State Farm Insurance Agency in Deerfield, Ill., registered October 16 as Boss's Day with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in 1958. She chose October 16 because it was her father's birthday and the story goes that she forgot his birthday and that by making it a holiday, she would not only recover from her oversight, but would never forget again. Of course, retailers have since capitalized on the holiday as an additional way to sell greeting cards, candy, mugs, and balloons.
Wikipedia defines Boss's Day as a day when employees thank their boss for being kind, fair, honest, and awesome throughout the year. While I have nothing against thanking the boss, the National holiday celebration does put pressure on everyone, even those who don't have an awesome boss. The social pressure probably causes more than a few people to do something to thank him/her even though their hearts are not in it...
Googling "bad boss" gets 166,000 hits ('good boss' yields only slightly less - 164,000). I am aware that people are more likely to talk and write about bad bosses more than good ones but it is clear that even after 40 years of teaching managers, executives and supervisors to use positive methods to get superior results I still have a lot of work to do.
One of the problems with this holiday is that if a bad boss is rewarded in even some small way, it will not make him/her a better boss but will actually make him/her a worse one. So we can expect that next week there will be many bosses who will be worse than they are this week because of boss's day.
That problem aside, most bosses are good and do deserve more recognition for what they do to create a positive workplace than they get. I have often said that if you think that you get too little recognition or positive reinforcement for what you do at work, think of your boss because he/she gets less. So if you are one of the lucky ones who has a good or awesome boss here are some suggestions of how to positively reinforce the boss without coming off as buttering her up or brown-nosing.
All people need positive reinforcement in order to do their best – bosses included. Position on an organization chart neither increases nor decreases that need. You have the ability to strengthen your boss’s good habits and improve other behaviors by how you respond to the boss’s behavior. Positive reinforcement will do the trick. Do it often and you and your boss will be the better for it.
Additional Resources: Bringing Out the Best in People Audio Book
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