On a seemingly ordinary Tuesday in October, I arrived at work to find my office door was covered in festive streamers and balloons! But my birthday is in August (I am LEO – hear me roar!), so although I was utterly delighted – I was also stumped. It was then that I discovered the shiny Mylar balloon on my desk that said, “HAPPY BOSS’S DAY!”

In addition to the balloon, my staff had written personal notes of encouragement and gratitude. They expressed their appreciation for being valued and supported, treated with respect and kindness, given clear direction and guidance… and for feeling protected. These handwritten notes brought tears to my eyes – and I will treasure them more than any award or plaque I have ever received.

Reading my staff members’ comments validated the conscious energy I have devoted toward creating a work environment where people know they matter. As a leader, I believe it is important to regularly recognize the unique value each person brings to the organization, regardless of their title. We ALL play a significant role in bringing our organizational mission to life, which is why it’s vital to cultivate a culture of employee awareness and appreciation. Here are a few ideas to help you build this culture: 

  1. CORE VALUES: Create a written list of the values that are meaningful to the way in which your organization operates.  These values should include behavioral expectations surrounding issues like teamwork, integrity, inclusiveness and transparency.
  2. COMMUNICATION: Create avenues for consistent communication between employees (including those in different work groups), and especially from and to the President/CEO. In addition to monthly staff-wide meetings, and weekly one-on-one meetings with all direct reports, I conduct one or two anonymous surveys each year as a way to solicit employee feedback.
  3. CREDIT: Create an environment where sharing and giving credit is celebrated! When employees feel secure and respected in their positions, they are more comfortable acknowledging outstanding work from their teammates. It is also imperative to ensure that all supervisors are providing consistent and constructive feedback, including praising employees when merited.
  4. CONNECTION: Find ways to connect employees with one another. For example, we incorporate teambuilding games into each staff-wide meeting so employees can identify things they have in common. As a result of discovering how many employees are crazy about their pet pups, we held a Howl-A-Ween Dog Parade this year. This event required very few resources – yet morale payoff was priceless!

Consequently, if you are in a leadership position and would like to experience a HAPPY BOSS’S DAY each October 16th, the wisdom of the following quote will help you develop a happy and healthy team!

“The task of leadership is not to put greatness into humanity, but to elicit it, for the greatness is already there.” – John Buchan