Today marks the 56th anniversary of National Boss Day, a day of observance and recognition for outstanding employers, which is acknowledged throughout the United States, England, Australia and South Africa.
In 1958, Patricia Bays Haroski registered this day with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to honor her father on his birthday. She believed he was an ideal boss and hoped this day of observance would help strengthen relationships between superiors and subordinates at work.
Today, National Boss Day is also a day to reflect on previous employers that made an impact on your life, inspired you and helped you grow.
Teddy Queen, owner of the Swiftwater Cafe and Swiftwater General Store in Charleston, said he owes his success as a small business owner to two past bosses — Randy Underwood and David Santee.
“The best boss I ever had, had to be Randy Underwood at the Rivermen, which is now known as Adventures on the Gorge. I’ve been a raft guide for 17 years and he was the river manager at that time,” he said of his time at the Fayette County rafting company.
“He taught me how to learn the river and it’s become a part of my life because of the restaurant and everything and I learned a lot from him. He was a really good teacher and made it fun, exciting and challenging, and he was the best boss.”
Queen said he worked with Santee — who is currently the Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President at Equity Residential — in property management years ago in Atlanta.
He said Santee inspired him and helped him gain confidence to come back to Charleston and become a self-employed business owner.
One of the keys to being a successful boss, he said, is to know what the prime motivators are for your employees and cater to those needs whether it is money, flexibility or recognition.
Emily Bennington, career author and Founder of Awake Exec Conscious Career Design, said she owes her success to her first boss, Skip Lineberg.
“Having Skip as a boss profoundly affected who I became as a professional and the trajectory of my career as a result,” she said. “I really would not be doing what I am doing now if it wasn’t for him.”
Bennington co-wrote “Effective Immediately: How To Fit In, Stand Out, and Move Up at Your First Real Job” with Lineberg, and shortly after penned her own book “Who Says It’s a Man’s World: The Girls’ Guide to Corporate Domination.”
In addition, Bennington has led numerous training programs concerning mindful leadership and helps break down communication barriers that may arise in the workplace.
She said one of the best books she’s read on management is “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us” by Daniel H. Pink. According to the book, the three points employees are looking for in the workplace are Mastery, Autonomy and Purpose, or (MAP).
Bennington said she agrees with him on these points wholeheartedly, and said if a boss wants to be “outstanding” they need to incorporate these into the workplace.
She said appreciation has consistently ranked over money in terms of what employees value.
First Lady Joanne Jeager Tomblin, who is the president of Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College, said it is important to get to know something about your employees in order to have their trust and respect.
She said people need to have compassion for their employees and know them by name in order to “know something about their lives and to understand them better.”
Tomblin also said it is important to establish expectations about their job up front and to continue to be a role model for employees through behavior.
“One of the things I think is very important you have to empower the people that work for you to allow them to do their jobs and give them that opportunity,” she said. “I also think you need to have high expectations of people that work for you, but on the other side of the coin you also have to have a lot of compassion for the people that work for you.”
Small business owner and entrepreneur Nikki Bowman, founder of New South Media, said she has learned a lot from previous bosses.
“I have learned a lot from my bad bosses — I think I have learned more from having bad bosses than good ones,” she said.
“I have definitely had jobs where I was micromanaged or belittled or not allowed to flourish in an environment, and I try really hard not to do that in our office here. I want all of our employees to grow personally and professionally.”
Bowman said it is important for a boss to give praise to their employees when credit is due, lead by example and learn to delegate responsibility.
“As we’ve grown the company here it’s been really important for me to delegate and give people more responsibilities,” she said. “Otherwise we couldn’t publish as many magazines as we do.”
Don’t worry if you missed the memo about National Boss Day.
Brenda Hopson, manager of Hallmark at the Charleston Town Center, said the store sells a variety of cards for National Boss Day and will continue to sell them throughout the week.
“I’ve been here 29 years and it’s always been a good day and a good week for us,” she said, adding people not only buy Boss Day cards, but also little gifts like candy, address books and other merchandise.
Contact writer Shawnee Moran at 304-348-4872 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @shawneemoran22.