You can thank Patricia Bays Haroski for this Friday's national "holiday," known as Bosses Day, National Boss Day, or, as we realistic people prefer to call it, Every Day: Forty-two years ago, the personal assistant forgot to get her boss at State Farm a birthday present, and so now we all celebrate her boss's birthday. But why get a present when you could start telling him or her how good he or she looks today, without being a suck-up? After all, compliments are cheaper than gifts and they never run out. Try these tips:
1. Pick a detail.
No compliment smacks of insincerity more than a general one. Saying "great shoes" in the office rarely comes off as genuine. Instead: "I love the color of your shoes - it really compliments what you're wearing." That's what's known as double flattery, with your boss's taste and his coordination both affirmed. Plus, you've demonstrated your own attention to detail, and they still put that kind of thing on job descriptions, don't they?
2. Show admiration, not jealousy.
Your boss makes more money than you do, and he or she probably works less. It is possibly the greatest injustice in the civilized world, but it's no reason to let on your seething indignation. So don't ask him or her who makes it or where it's from. Key phrases: "What a nice fabric" or "great fit on that jacket." Class envy gives way to seeming idolization, but subtly so.
3. Never ask how much it costs.
It's none of your business.
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4. Ration your praise.
The boss knows when he or she is having a bad hair day, so don't go telling him or her otherwise just because you haven't sucked up yet this afternoon. Which brings us to our next tip...
Related: The Art of the Perfect Compliment
5. Don't be a liar.
It's okay to lie to liars, but (most) good bosses get to be bosses because they're honest - not suckers. That means they can smell a rat, especially if it's up in their new three-piece suit.
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6. But feel free to exaggerate.
If you hate the suit, keep your mouth shut. If you kind of like it, feel free to say you love it. Again, pick a detail as the focal point of your enthusiasm. Then shut up.
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7. Compliment others.
It really doesn't hurt to tell your co-workers they're looking good. Especially if it's in front of the boss. Especially if they become the boss. Or, you know, if you want to be a nice person.
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Photo Credit: Everett Collection (The Apartment)