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ATD Blog

Is Your Boss a Good Boss?

Thursday, October 15, 2020

National Bosses Day Is October 16, 2020

Did you know Patricia Bays Haroski created National Bosses Day because she worked for her dad and wanted to honor him as a great boss? She registered his birthday, October 16, as a holiday with the United States Chamber of Commerce. While it has grown in popularity over the years, it is not celebrated by all.

How is your boss in the day-to-day of your work? If you are a boss, are you a good one? Think about these famous bosses and see who your boss is most closely related to:

  • Gordon Gekko from Wall StreetI hope not!
  • Miranda Priestly from The Devil Wears PradaOh, my. I hope not!
  • Colonel Jessup from A Few Good MenWow, please, NO!
  • Tony Stark from IronmanOK, now we’re talking!
  • Danny Ocean from Ocean's 11, 12, 13Nice man but I don’t want to go to jail!
  • What about the movies The Intern or Horrible Bosses?—Lessons learned!

Some of these people were brutal and others may have left you feeling good. Remember these lines?

  • Gordon Gekko said, “If you need a friend, get a dog.” I would imagine this character would not score well on an emotional intelligence scale. He didn’t want to build relationships or care about his employees.
  • Miranda Priestly said, “Details of your incompetence do not interest me?” Ouch! No one wants to be on the other end of that statement.
  • Glinda, the Good Witch said, “You’ve always had the power, my dear.” That one would feel good to hear and build confidence.

Now, consider these words from Maya Angelou: I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. Here are some signs of a great boss and how they make their teams feel:


1. Great bosses make you feel confident and fulfilled with the work you do.
2. They are great communicators and help you feel informed.
3. You get great constructive feedback.
4. Leaders hold themselves, you, and your colleagues accountable.
5. Great leaders recognize good performance and reward appropriately.
6. And fun and laughter in the workplace is always a good sign!

Are you looking for ideas for a celebration? Try these:

  • A bosses day card is always good recognition and an inexpensive way to you’re your leader appreciation. Snail mail is fun to get right now if you are working from home. If you need to, an e-card is fine too.
  • If they are a fan of a particular dessert, send them a treat at home.
  • A plant for their desk, especially one that is likely to live a long time with low maintenance. It is a nice reminder when they see it.
  • Personalized notepads are always nice. It feels special, and they can use it.
  • A personalized letter with the best advice the leader has given each team member.

Take some time to recognize your boss even if it is an email. It is a great way to show appreciation, and it will make them feel good. This will help to create a great workplace atmosphere for everyone.

About the Author

Dana Vogelmeier is a leadership consultant certified as a workplace culture specialist and an executive director of the John Maxwell team. (Maxwell is an Amazon Hall of Fame author and speaker on leadership and Vogelmeier has been mentored by him and his team.) She specializes in facilitating leadership development training with a focus on creating workplaces people love. High-performing workplaces will improve morale, productivity, and profitability so it is a win-win for all.

She has more than 20 years of leadership experience in a Fortune 50 company as a first-line leader, a second-line leader, and a third-line leader. She coached and led several hundred people over the years and believed that if you created a great work environment, you will get great results. In one department, Vogelmeier was asked to positively influence the employee opinion survey that measures how employees feel and the organization's morale. She was able to move it 30 percentage points in a positive direction.

Vogelmeier has a master’s degree in leadership and is a Certified Professional in Talent Development (CPTD) from the Association for Talent Development (where she is also a part-time instructor).

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Appropriate examples with awesome leadership indicators and amazing shout-out ideas!
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