October 16th, 2013 is Boss’s Day, a corporate holiday to say “thank you” to all the great bosses out there that go the extra mile for their employees. Boss’s Day wasn’t concocted deep in the bowels of the Hallmark laboratories as part of a diabolical plan to increase greeting card sales. The actual story of how it came to be is rather sweet – a young woman named Patricia Bays Haroski, a Secretary for State Farm Insurance in Deerfield, IL, created the holiday in 1958 as a sign of affection to her father, who also happened to be her boss. She chose her father’s birthday, October 16, as the date, submitted it to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and four years later the holiday was officially proclaimed. Today, what started as personal thanks from a daughter to a father has become an internationally celebrated holiday, and to be fair, Hallmark does make some very tasteful and reasonably priced greeting cards for the occasion.
So who are these amazing bosses that we recognize every October? I’m glad that I asked: A small tech startup named “Google” recently performed an extremely in-depth study that sought to define the characteristics of a good boss, with the goal of discovering why some managers perform better than others. After countless hours were spent making over 10,000 observations about managers across more than 100 variables, the study – internal code name Project Oxygen – resulted in a list of the top eight “good behaviors” that every great boss should exhibit. The rankings might surprise you:
1. Be a good coach.
2. Empower your team and don’t micromanage.
3. Express interest in team members’ success and personal well-being.
4. Don’t be a sissy: Be productive and results-oriented.
5. Be a good communicator and listen to your team.
6. Help your employees with career development.
7. Have a clear vision and strategy for the team.
8. Have key technical skills so you can help advise the team.
Pay attention to number 8 – this is coming from the company that manufactures driverless cars and Internet-enabled eyeglasses, for crying out loud. If that doesn’t say something about the importance of human interaction in management, I don’t know what else will. Google set out to create a definitive list that would shape their management strategy for years to come. Shortly after the findings were implemented, they experienced significant improvement from 75% of their worst-performing managers. You know who’s happier now? Those managers’ employees. You know who else is happy? The Hallmark Corporation.