By: Kimberly Abel
October 16th is Boss’s Day. We know most people either don’t want to recognize or don’t think about recognizing their bosses. The focus of recognition programs has primarily been from the top down from manager to employee or lateral with peer-to-peer appreciation. But it’s time to change that thinking…
Recognition isn’t just something we ‘get’, it’s also something we ‘give’. After all, behavior that gets recognized tends to get repeated. And your boss is no exception. No matter what kind of leader your boss is, a great mentor or a hands-off taskmaster, there is something that they are doing that works and deserves your acknowledgement. You might have to be intentional and look for it, but, unless your boss is Attila the Hun, there is something noteworthy you can highlight. You might even want to use Boss’s Day as a catalyst to think about it.
Five types of boss behaviors that might get you thinking:
1) The COACH.
This boss is there to provide insight and guidance versus jumping in and doing it themselves. Coaches help others maximize their potential. The coach-type of boss is a change expert who helps others take responsibility, evolve and improve themselves.
Recognizing a coach. If you have a coach for a boss, know that they value more than anything the simple act of being acknowledged. A handwritten personal note, or small gestures filled with meaning and personalization will go a long way.
2) The TEACHER.
True teachers are rare. This type of boss enjoys building people up and seeing them succeed. They either provide access to opportunities to acquire new skills or take the time to transfer knowledge and teach directly. Just remember that teachers ask ‘students’ to practice, to do homework and occasionally provide tests. So sometimes teachers aren’t the most popular, but in the end, the learning and growth will help take you to the next level.
Recognizing a teacher. If you have a teacher for a boss, reflecting on what you’ve learned and how you’ve grown as a result of their teaching will go a long way. Saying thanks with small tangible gifts like flowers, a pen or a gift card will ensure that they know how much you value what you’ve learned.
3) The TIME GIVER.
Just as the name implies, the time-giver boss will give you time…anytime you need it. Whether it’s to ask questions, to seek direction, or simply to vent, the time giver is there. Time givers excel at active listening and will often go to extra lengths to ensure they understand the context and situation before giving input.
Recognizing a time giver. A great way to recognize a time giver is to give them time rather than simply using their time. Instead of ‘needing something’, schedule an appreciation lunch or even a coffee break where the focus is on them. Sharing your gratitude for their time will have extra meaning when you are giving some of your own.
4) The WING PERSON.
This is when your boss ‘has your back’. The wing person boss provides ‘air cover’ internally or with customers and helps to protect your interests. This boss doesn’t ‘hang you out to dry’, but instead helps you navigate tricky situations and difficult environments.
Recognizing the wing person. A great way to thank someone for “having your back” is to take care of theirs…with a massage. Other types of personal services or experiences like car washes, spa treatments, or movie passes are great low cost ways of saying “thank you”.
5) The CAPTAIN.
A captain is an in-the-trenches kind of boss that ensures you don’t have to go at it alone. If you’re staying late, they stay late too.
Recognizing the captain. The captain typically enjoys symbolism. Try something official like a certificate of appreciation, a pin, or a pen. Something symbolic that will remind them of the ‘in the trenches’ experience you value and shared will go a long way.
Whether it’s on October 16th or any day, bosses deserve to be recognized for the behaviors and work they do to make your life better and easier.
BONUS! If you initiate recognition, chances are, they will reciprocate!