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The Journal Gazette

October 16, 2016 1:01 AM

Today's the day for your boss

Lisa Green | The Journal Gazette

If you look at the average desk calendar, you will probably see Columbus Day, Yom Kippur and Halloween noted as October holidays.

But here’s another October celebration that some people observe: Boss’s Day.

Normally the observance falls on Oct. 16, but this year that’s a Sunday. Several online references to the observance say it began in 1958 when an insurance agent, whose boss was her father, wanted to honor him. She chose his birthday.

Some fun facts on MSN.com’s website included that Hallmark, the largest manufacturer of greeting cards in the United States, did not publish Boss’s Day cards until 1979. As of last year, Hallmark had more than 55 cards for the occasion, including some for men and some for women.

While scrolling on Google after a key word search, I noticed there were 1,000-plus ideas for Boss’s Day. Among the ideas I saw pictured on the site:

• A thermos with the words “Thanks for being Boss-Some!”

• A door plastered with a dozen “thumbs up” signs – the Facebook “like” button style.

• A card with the words, “In honor of Boss’s Day, you should totally feel free to close the office early.”

• A card with the words “Happy Boss’s Day to the person whose job I never, ever, ever, ever, want.”

That last one says a lot. Not everyone wants to be a leader. But the person who wrote that card seems to have a sense of some of the challenges that can come with leading.

For people who might be interested in this sort of observance, Development Dimensions International, a global human resources consultancy, on Thursday offered some gift ideas, noting that none of them require wrapping paper. The ideas are focused on “surprising ways employees can make the leaders they appreciate more successful, engaged and likely to stay,” said Evan Sinar, a chief scientist at Development Dimensions. The ideas stem from leadership-focused research and surveys Development Dimensions is known for.

Feedback and engagement are among the things leaders desire, according Development Dimension’s news release. Eighty-nine percent of leaders look for opportunities daily to develop their employees.

“While a box of chocolates may offer immediate gratification,” the news release said, “leaders are looking for more substantial reasons to stay in the job.”

Top drivers of leader retention: having a good work-life balance and seeing that a company firmly supports employee development.

Development Dimensions said “instead of that putting green,” leaders should be rewarded with opportunities to hone their skills in coaching and delegation, “which will have far more impact on team performance.” Just under half of leaders, 43 percent, don’t get frequent chances to practice interaction skills that only improve with time and focus.

Now, back to the fun facts on MSN.com. One said that Boss’s Day could be viewed as controversial in the U.S. Not everyone believes that it is appropriate or fair to honor the person in the position of power. There is, after all, no Employee’s Day.

To share a thought, a favorite quote or other wisdom about leadership, email Lisa Green at lisagreen@jg.net. Lead On also appears online as a blog at www.journalgazette.net/blog/lead-on/