Thursday, 23 February 2012

Is it Dr. Smith...or simply Chris?

As a leader, have you dropped by your formal title?

Forget what your parents taught you, it's not always prudent to use a formal salutation, especially in today's more informal education and business worlds. Addressing people by their first name is now the norm in corporate and educational circles. Use first names to address colleagues, clients, and bosses. If you are a junior employee, this will level the playing field so that you are perceived as more of an equal. Confidently addressing people by their first names establishes you as mature and self-assured. If you are a seasoned leader, it will convey accessibility. Today's workers see hierarchies as stiff and outdated. Demanding that subordinates or staff members use a formal title comes off as pompous. Note that this informality is not the global norm—learn what is most broadly acceptable both locally and before you travel.  This is also especially important in education when addressing parents.  Start with the Mr., Mrs., or Ms. until asked to use a first name.  Additional respect for parents is never out-of-date.

Adapted from "What's in a (First) Name" by Jodi Glickman.

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