BFW PicOctober 16th was Boss’s Day. Traditionally it was established to show appreciation to your boss for being kind and fair throughout the year. Of course there are differing opinions about the appropriateness of the celebration based on people’s experiences with their current and former bosses.

Nevertheless, the holiday has been gaining in popularity since it was first registered with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in 1958. In 1979 Hallmark produced its first Boss’s Day cards but in 2007 increased its offerings by 28%. Boss’s day was originally established in an attempt to promote positive relationships between managers and their employees. The thought was to recognize bosses for the hard work, dedication, and challenges they face on a daily basis.

We think it is something more. We think Boss’s Day should also serve as a reminder to bosses at every level that to be deserving of that recognition they must practice certain policies that promote the respect and admiration of their people. Remember, everybody is some sort of a boss at some time. Whether it’s asking an outside vendor or customer for something you need in order to do your job, or whether it’s training a new employee, you are the “boss.” Here then is the short list of what it takes to be a “good” boss when you are the one in charge:

1. Clarity. You know what you want but can you explain it in no uncertain terms to a third party? A good boss will explain it several different ways with examples. They will put it in the larger context of “why” it is necessary, not just what is necessary. Then they will ask the person from whom they are requesting the action to repeat it back to them so they can clear up any misunderstandings.

2. Respect. Your employee, or the party from whom you are requesting action, has a brain. They can help you achieve your goals. So share your challenges with them and they will surprise you with out-of-the-box solutions. We practiced know-the-need, rather than need-to-know. When you do employ their workable solutions, they feel more engaged and empowered, resulting in a greater desire to help solve more problems

3. Appreciation. When you are the boss, you are in the role of surrogate parent. The people you depend upon look to you as an authority figure not unlike a parent. They want and need acknowledgement and validation. Don’t be afraid to give recognition for a job well done in writing. When you do, you will receive more of what you have shown appreciation for.

4. Encouragement. Again like parenting, bosses must tell their people “You can do it!” Show them how far they have come. Tell them that you have confidence in their ability to improve their skill set, achieve the deadline, or produce the deliverables. And again, when they do, be sure to thank them and acknowledge them for their achievements

5. Permission. Give your people permission to experiment, have fun, and make mistakes. Permission is probably the most important ingredient in employee engagement. When you look at mistakes as building blocks and not as blame centers, the people you are depending on will get the message and endeavor to learn from every mistake.

These are just a few of the best practices of “good” bosses, but feel free to add to this list. If it sounds a little parental, it is. Showing concern for the people you rely on and their needs is the basis for a positive company culture. By the way, Patricia Haroski, who founded Boss’s Day? Her boss was her dad!

Who We Are

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey Barefoot Wine Founders

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. The book has been selected as recommended reading in the CEO Library for CEO Forum, the C-Suite Book Club, and numerous university classes on business and entrepreneurship. It chronicles their humble beginnings from the laundry room of a rented Sonoma County farmhouse to the board room of E&J Gallo, who ultimately acquired their brand and engaged them as brand consultants. Barefoot is now the world’s largest wine brand.

Beginning with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative ideas to overcome obstacles, create new markets and forge strategic alliances. They pioneered Worthy Cause Marketing and performance-based compensation. They built an internationally bestselling brand and received their industry’s “Hot Brand” award for several consecutive years.

They offer their Guiding Principles for Success (GPS) to help entrepreneurs become successful. Their book, The Entrepreneurial Culture: 23 Ways To Engage and Empower Your People, helps corporations maximize the value of their human resources.

Currently they travel the world leading workshops, trainings, & keynoting at business schools, corporations, conferences. They are regular media guests and contributors to international publications and professional journals. They are C-Suite Network Advisors & Contributing Editors. Visit their popular brand building site at

To make inquiries for keynote speaking, trainings or consulting, please contact