Changing of the Guards: How to Properly Thank a Boss Who is Leaving

A good boss is hard to come by. So when you have one, it’s important that you appreciate every moment. And when that boss decides to retire or move on to another opportunity, a proper “thank you” is in order.

4 Ways to Tell Your Boss Thanks

It’s easy to look at your boss with jealousy and view them through a lens of entitlement. You might think, “Wow, I wish I was her!” or “Sure would be nice to be the one calling the shots!” But truth be told, most bosses face a lot more pressure and responsibility than we realize.

It’s never easy to lead a team – small or large – and we usually don’t have any idea what they’ve been through to reach this stage of their career. So when a boss leaves or retires, we must step back and appreciate everything they’ve done.

If you’re close with your boss and know what makes them tick, you might already have a pretty good idea of what to give them. But if you’re not quite so confident in your choice, here are some various options that almost always make a positive impression.

1. Write a Letter

Various modes of communication have risen to prominence over the past 30 years, but nothing beats the class of a letter. There’s something about receiving a letter that makes you feel good. It evokes feelings of intentionality and thoughtfulness.

Unlike an email or text, which can be quickly drafted and sent with a few swift pecks of a keyboard, writing a letter takes time.

  • Write it by hand. There’s nothing technically wrong with typing up a letter, printing it, and putting it in an envelope. However, if the goal is to make someone feel special, a handwritten note has a lot more personality. It takes time to write a letter. There’s character in every flick and turn of the pen. By writing a letter out by hand, you show your boss that they’re special.
  • Give yourself time. There’s nothing worse than a rushed letter – particularly a rushed handwritten letter. From the handwriting to the content, everything will feel like it’s been hastily pasted together at the last minute. (Which it has!) Give yourself ample time to sit down and write the letter. This means you should do it several days in advance.

Above all else, make sure the letter is unique. You can find a lot of templates online for writing good letters. (You can even find some that are specifically for bidding farewell to a boss.) However, these templates are always generic and choppy. If you want to bid a genuine goodbye to someone special, you must infuse your own personality and language.

2. Record a Video

Not much of a letter-writing person? You could always record a short video and send it to your boss as a thank you for everything they’ve done over the years. When recording a video like this, try to focus on the softer qualities.

Obviously, your boss has certain technical skills and experiences that have allowed them to reach a certain level of influence, but he probably doesn’t want to hear about these. He wants to know how he made a difference in the softer areas. Try focusing on qualities like:

  • Leadership. If you genuinely admire your boss, then there’s a pretty good chance that they have good leadership skills. Talk about how they have excellent decision-making skills, or how they treat everyone fairly.
  • Integrity. A good manager has a high level of integrity and believes in being honest and forthcoming. They’ll take responsibility for their actions and never throw somebody under the bus just to elevate themselves. Pull out a couple of memorable examples and share them with your boss.
  • Perseverance. There’s always some degree of perseverance that must be cultivated in a business setting. Harp on your boss’ patience and tenacity.

These same qualities make good fodder for speeches and toasts, by the way. If you’ll be delivering remarks at a farewell party, pick one or two of these qualities that best sums up your boss and use them as a launching point.

3. Give a Personalized Plaque

Want a good personalized gift for a boss leaving? These farewell plaques for a boss are always a nice touch. You can customize them with laser engraving to include a message, quote, or even a list of accomplishments that the boss had during their tenure with the company.

Need a gift for a boss who has everything? A thank you gift plaque is another good option. They come in a variety of sizes, including 8-inch plaques all the way up to larger 12-inch plaques. And with four different designs to choose from, you can find something to fit every person’s tastes.

This star boss award trophy is a unique option that’s become pretty popular in recent years. Its slim body makes it ideal for displaying on a mantel, bookshelf, or home office. There are four different sizes and four different design options.

4. Give a Thoughtful Gift

There’s plenty of room for creativity. If you think your boss is the kind of person who would appreciate a gift they can use or experience, there’s nothing wrong with buying them a unique and thoughtful present. The key is to make it meaningful.

For example, if your boss is retiring and you know that she has a particular hobby – such as gardening or cycling – you might get her a gift that she can use when doing that hobby. Little details go a long way in making people feel special. Give it some thought and don’t rush the decision!

Shop Boss Gifts at DIY Awards

Looking for a unique boss retirement gift? At DIY Awards, we have plenty of options to choose from. This includes crystal plaques, trophies, and a variety of customizable awards that you can personalize to your boss and their accomplishments.

Shop around, and we’re confident you’ll find the perfect fit!