The ethical way to give your boss a gift

Estimated reading time: 1 mins

Love your boss? Want to give them a gift? Then here is how to say thanks without breaking ethical boundaries.

In many organizations, there are rules and policies governing the accepting of gifts. Your organization might have them. The giving of gifts can be interpreted (perhaps harshly) as an attempt to curry favor and gain advantage over colleagues. And it would be fair to say that this does go on. It’s sad, but true.

That doesn’t mean you are totally ham-strung when giving your boss a gift! Stick to these guidelines, and you’ll be OK.

  1. The main bone of contention is the accepting gifts of value. Giving a gold-watch or diamond necklace will look like an outright bribe. So a gift from you should have no intrinsic resale value.
  2. If it’s possible, give your boss a gift from your team, rather than from you individually. This way you’re not seen to be seeking personal gain. Share the love!
  3. Make it personal and specific – if your boss is great for a specific reason, make the gift about that reason. Personalize the gift too.
  4. Craft the gift for maximum effect. A gift made by yourselves not only adds the personal touch, it also makes it unique, minimizes your investment, and minimizes its intrinsic value.
  5. Give it for a genuine reason. A thank you gift should represent genuine gratitude for an act that went beyond your boss’s duties and responsibility to you. A gift for anything less could be seen as suspect!

Gift ideas

If you need some inspiration, try these ideas:

  • Cookies make great gifts – simple and very effective. Who doesn’t like a cookie?
  • A simple hand-made card is often the only gift you need to offer
  • Try something seasonal – a hand-knitted scarf makes a great winter gift
  • Bath bombs are quick and easy to make at home, and are always appreciated
  • If you grow fruit or vegetables in your garden, they make great gifts when freshly picked

For more ideas, take a look at this book:

Handmade Gifts


About the author /

Simon is a creative and passionate business leader dedicated to having fun in the pursuit of high performance and personal development. He is co-founder of Applied Change, a Business Change consultancy based in the UK. Simon is also an Ambassador for Gloucestershire business. Simon is an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Professional Development.

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