Today is National Boss Day. As with everything affecting the wonderful world of work, we thought we’d do a little research to see what this day is really all about.

Here’s what we found …

History

Contrary to popular opinion, National Boss Day wasn’t started by a greeting card company. It wasn’t started by bosses, either.

The whole thing was created in 1958 by a State Farm Insurance employee named Patricia Haroski. Ms. Haroski started the special day because she felt that her boss was an exemplary human being and that he and all other bosses everywhere deserved a day in their honor. (Interesting fact that may or may not be relevant: Ms. Haroski’s boss was also her father.) Ms. Haroski convinced the government to create a national holiday and it’s been celebrated annually ever since.

Who — or What — Is the Boss?

It seems that not everyone today agrees with Ms. Haroski’s sentiment that bosses are worth celebrating. Here’s a mere sampling of some of the not-all-that-flattering boss-oriented stories flooding media outlets today.

One cites a study that determined that 4 out of every 100 bosses is a certified psychopath — defined as one who lacks morals and focuses exclusively on his or her own pleasure and power. That 4/100 rate is quadruple the national average.

Another says that far too many bosses exhibit bullying behavior. In fact, more than 53 million Americans — 35% of the workforce — say they’ve been bullied at work.

Yet another found that 20% of employees fear taking vacation because they believe their bosses are ogres who will punish them for daring to enjoy life outside the office.

Yikes — not a very pretty picture.

The Answer

So, what can we all do to help reverse these disturbing trends?

As we have stated numerous times here on the Blawg, all of employment law and HR can be boiled down to one little word: LOVE. It’s really that simple.

If you’re an employee …

LOVE your boss — even (and maybe especially) if he or she is a psychopath and/or ogre. Lots of studies show that the higher up you are in a company, the more isolated, lonely, stressed and depressed you tend to be. So, reach out to your boss and give him/her a little encouragement. And not just today — every day.

If you’re a boss …

Want fewer lawsuits? LOVE your employees. Want fewer unions? LOVE your employees. Want less government regulation and investigation? LOVE your employees. Want more engagement, productivity, retention and profit? LOVE your employees.

Times are really, really, really, very, really tough out there. Treat everyone around you the way you’d like to be treated – with dignity and respect … and LOVE.