At age eight, it was permissible to bring the teacher the customary apple or a treat from home to engender a little good will. We aren’t in school anymore, though, and the lines of gifting aren’t so clear cut. Now that we’re all grown up and proper, how does that translate to the world of business?
Bosses like to receive gifts just as much as the next person, but we have to be careful about how gifting will be perceived by everyone else in the workplace. For example, Jim’s co-workers may find it a little odd if Jim brings the boss some of his wife’s famous brownies twice a month. It wouldn’t be so odd, though, if Jim brought brownies for everyone and made sure to include the boss in his sharing. There’s unwritten protocols to boss gifting, but it isn’t totally off limits.
Holidays create a unique opportunity for gifting the boss with something more personal. Try ordering a small basket or gift hampers filled with fruit and other delicacies. Make sure to mix in some of the bosses favorite chocolates, or a six-pack of that guava juice he mentioned he was crazy about. Adding just one personal touch to the basket allows your boss to know you value her and want her to know it. Your personal gesture will not be forgotten. Try it.
If you have several co-workers, another useful gift idea for the boss is to be the mastermind of a group gift. The choice of gift will depend on your type of workplace and your boss, but it should be something you know the boss will get excited about and remember. Did your boss mention wanting to golf the greens of the new course in town? Set up an office chip-in to pay for his greens fees, cart and caddie. The presentation of the gift should be made with everyone present, but the instigator of the gift collaboration should be the one who hands the boss the goods. This, too, is a unique means of letting the boss know how much he is valued. Creating goodwill goes a long way over the course of time. Gift baskets will give back to you too, as your boss is bound to share it with his generous staff.
Bosses can be good or bad, may growl or snort, but it never hurts to reach out in a giving way to them. Even those snarly types have a hard time being grumpy with someone who has shown them they are liked. Try it!