Today is National Boss’s Day, and if you’re like me, you think of it as just another conspiracy by the greeting card, floral delivery, and bagel and cookie industries to get our hard-earned money.
(I say this even though I’m very grateful for the carry-in luncheon my colleagues in the S&T communications department threw in my and my assistant director’s honor on Monday. Thanks, guys! It was a great treat and totally unnecessary, but appreciated!)
But even if National Boss’s Day is a corporate conspiracy, maybe there’s some value in recognizing — and thanking — the bosses in our lives. After all, if we are fortunate enough to hold down jobs in this economy, we either are bosses or have bosses, and the people who are bosses always have bosses of their own. And with employees everywhere being asked to do more, many of us are essentially our own bosses most of the time.
So, whether we like it or not, we are like a boss.
So maybe we should like a boss — as in, show some appreciation for their efforts or at least sympathy for their plight.
When it comes to bosses, I tend to agree with Bob Sutton, the author of Good Boss, Bad Boss, who says that most bosses have good intentions and want to do a good job. (There are, of course, exceptions, and we’ve all encountered them. Sutton also wrote about them in his book The No Asshole Rule.) As Sutton writes on his blog, “[M]ost bosses I know work extremely hard and are dedicated to improving their skills” and are “concerned about becoming better at practicing their difficult craft.” While writing Good Boss, Bad Boss, Sutton worried about the plight of supervisors and “how hard it is to be a good boss — the job is never done, it is amazingly easy to screw-up, and wielding power over others makes it all even harder because you are being watched so closely (and are prone to tuning-out your followers — the other half of the toxic tandem).”
“Yet, despite all these hurdles, the best evidence shows that many, if not most, people find their bosses to be competent and compassionate.”
So, whether you are a boss, report to a boss, act in both capacities, or work as your own boss, here are some tips from around the web that can help you be more like a boss, and perhaps even help you like a boss. And if you’re like me and aspire to be a competent and compassionate boss, perhaps these tips will help you on your journey.
- 10 secrets your great boss never told you. My favorite from the list: “I learned through the grapevine that you made a wisecrack or two about management. I shrugged it off, knowing good people deserve to vent.” I’m pretty sure a boss of mine has done this for me before.
- 10 ways to turn around a bad day at work. “The boss” is the first culprit on this list of people and things that can torpedo your day.
- 10 things you can do to celebrate boss’s day, an oldie but goodie from the incomparable Stanley Bing.
(By the way, if you’re in to reading business books, I highly recommend Good Boss, Bad Boss. It mad the list of my favorite books of 2010.)