It is not one of the recognisable red letter day on your calendar. In fact here in Jamaica, I am almost sure that that day goes by largely unnoticed. But, did you know that October 16 is observed in the United States as National Boss Day or Bosses' Day? Yes it is.
According to information I found on the internet, "Boss's Day is dedicated to all employers and provides a prospect of improving the liaison between employers and their staff." Workers dedicate the day to their supervisors for various reasons, such as supporting staff with their jobs and careers. This observance also gives employees a chance to recognise those in supervisory positions. On National Boss Day, some people give their bosses cards, gift certificates, or flowers and the observance is, they say, becoming increasingly popular in various workplaces, receiving both praise and controversy.
The concept of National Boss Day began in 1958 when one, Patricia Bays Haroski, then an employee at State Farm Insurance Company in Deerfield, Illinois, registered the holiday with the United States Chamber of Commerce. She designated October 16 as the special day because it was her father's birthday. Haroski's father was apparently very supportive in his children's careers and her purpose was to designate a day to show appreciation for bosses. She also hoped to improve the relationship between employees and supervisors.
How comes with all the heavy social media networking: the tweetings, the postings on Facebook and such delights, this one celebratory day missed us, on this side of the pond? We, to whom all holidays are sacred. It makes one wonder which one of our employees pulled the plug and kicked this 'National Boss Day' concept straight to the curb? Maybe that employee who banished the idea in Jamaica has worked with one or more of Time Magazine's Top Ten Worst Bosses. Naturally, no doubt some of these stalwarts were inspirational for the movie, 'Horrible Bosses'.
Have you worked with any boss like those on this list? Their idiosyncrasies range from diabolical; penny-pinching and tightfisted; micro-managing, violent and being generally offensive to their employees, en masse. Making the dubious top ten list is Yankees' owner, George Steinbrenner, who micro-managed that team like no body's business. Steinbrenner managed "every aspect of the team, even concerning himself with employees' facial hair. Not only could those who worked for him not grow beards, they also did not enjoy job security". Apparently, this 'Boss of the Year' took great delight in firing, hiring and then firing his employees at whim. "Winning is the most important thing in my life, after breathing," and if games were lost heads rolled.
Have you ever worked with a boss who was just plain and effortlessly mean-spirited? It seems as if in the mornings they rolled out of bed, ate a plate of mean stew for breakfast and just spent the rest of the day wanting to share the recipe with the rest of us. Nothing makes them happy and they find fault with your work as if the mistakes were winning lotto tickets. Good grief. Of course, no list of bad bosses would be complete without hotel and real estate magnate, Leona Helmsley, 'The Queen of Mean'. According to the article, Mrs. Helmsley, was "a perfectionist, she was known for surprise inspections, harsh criticism and little patience. When describing her technique in dealing with employees, she once said, "If something is wrong, the first time, I ask them to change it. The second time, I ask an octave higher. The third time, I ask the person if they want me to do it. The fourth time, if things aren't absolutely right, they're fired."
There are some bosses who are as cold as ice and ruthless. Some of these are hired for their job cutting skills and to them an employee is just a number, not a person with a family. So, our next top ten list-er is one such 'great boss', Al Dunlap, aka 'Chainsaw: "Now retired Dunlap spent his career hopping from one corporate board room to the next applying a myopic obsession with his companies financials at the expense of everything else. During his stint at Scott Paper, he engineered a corporate restructuring that put 35 per cent of the workforce or 11,000 people out of jobs, " which simultaneously brought a rise in share value of 225 per cent."
If you don't mind working for a control freak then you should fit right into the team of John H Patterson, who led his National Register Company and is considered a pioneer in sales management. Although Patterson trained his salesmen he gave them highly tuned scripts to follow, "he was known as a control freak who tried to impose his obsession with cleanliness and healthiness on his employees, mandating that they take showers on company time and restricting certain types of food from being served in the company dining rooms." He also loved to fire and one story has it that he fired executive Thomas Watson, who later became the head of IBM, by leaving his desk on the lawn for Watson to discover on his return to the office.
Naturally, there are more than one woman on this infamous list. Super model, Naomi Campbell is listed as number seven having over the past decade gained a reputation for abusing her employees. The article stated that since 1998, at least eight of Campbell's employees have come forth with allegations that the super model has assaulted them. She has of course denied the allegations and have settled most of them out of court. However in 2007 she was found guilty of an assault, charged and sentenced to five days community service. Campbell's weapons of choice: telephones, either landline or Blackberry.
Yvonne Grinam-Nicholson, (MBA, ABC) is a Business Communications Consultant with ROCommunications Jamaica, specialising in business communications and financial publications. She can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit her website at www.rocommunications.com and post your comments.