Guidelines for Giving Your Boss a Gift

Gift giving can be a fun tradition that can help you bond with other people. That being said, different rules apply to gift giving at work, especially when the gift is to your boss. Giving a gift to your boss can be fraught with workplace taboos that can really limit the types of gifts you can give and even how you can give them. Thus, having some gift giving guidelines can really help you avoid the embarrassment of committing a workplace foul. Below are some easy guidelines and tips to keep in mind when giving your boss a gift.

1. Don’t Be Obvious

Make sure that you are giving your gift to your boss discreetly, especially if it is not for an obvious reason like a holiday or recovering to health. Giving a gift to your boss could cause jealousy in your co-workers, who may view it as an attempt by you to get ahead of them. With that in mind, proudly presenting a gift publicly to your boss may not be the best route to gift giving in the office. By being discreet with your gift, you avoid the awkward situations that could otherwise arise from such a public display. For more on this idea and others, click here.

2. Always Make Your Intentions Clear

Gift giving is a way of communicating, and communication can always be misinterpreted by the one receiving it. To make sure that there is no embarrassing miscommunication, make clear your intentions with the gift up front. Either tell your boss why you are giving the gift to them when you give it or make it obvious through a card or some other way of communicating your intentions. You do not want your boss second-guessing your motivations for buying them a gift.

3. Don’t Make It Too Personal

This is especially important if you and your boss are not necessarily close. The idea of personal gifts can have a range of meanings as well. Don’t assume that you know your boss’ personal life well enough to get them a more intimate gift. Also, do not give anything that is personal in the sense of actually touching them. That means clothes, scarfs, or perfumes. Being able to tell someone’s personal taste can be difficult. There are also smell sensitivities and allergies to contend with as well. By keeping your gift a bit more impersonal and off their person, you have a better chance at giving them an appropriate gift. A way to give a thoughtful gift without being too personal is to get something relevant to their age.  If they are in their 50’s get them a relevant gift, if they just turned 30 give them something that would be relevant to that age group.

4. Don’t Expect Something In Return

As stated earlier, gift giving in the office is different than with relatives or friends. While having to give a gift back might be appropriate in more informal settings, it is not necessary in the business world. In the office, professional relationships are key, and gifts cannot and should not interfere with those relationships. With this in mind, you should not expect to receive a gift back from your boss. Again, you wouldn’t want them to think you are trying to buy their favor or a raise. For more on this tip and other guidelines for gift giving in an office setting, click here.)

5. Make Sure Its Price Appropriate

Typically a small but thoughtful gift or card is a good idea. Getting something extravagant is just asking for trouble. This is again especially true if you do not know your boss particularly well. Buying an expensive gift for your boss while not knowing what they like could mean wasted money for you. It can also be seen as simply inappropriate, even if they like the gift. Thus, keeping the cost of the gift fairly low is usually a good idea. Just because the gift is low cost does not mean that it can’t have at least a little thought put into it, however. For more on this concept and some other gift guidelines, click here.)

As mentioned before, gift giving in the office can be a hazardous venture, especially when it involves the boss. However, armed with these guidelines and tips, you will hopefully have a better understanding of how to give your boss a gift.