No Ho Ho: Unsigned Holiday Cards

Around this time of year, business advice columns and blogs talk about the etiquette of sending out holiday greeting cards to employees and clients, such as this observation from legal marketing expert Tom Kane, who wrote that by not signing a card:

…the message(s) you are sending to the recipient may include one or more of the following:

  • I’m too busy
  • You aren’t important enough for me to personalize this card
  • Our relationship isn’t that important either
  • My secretary merely sent a card to everyone in my rolodex
  • The firm ordered the cards, and I’m not sure who sent them out

It would be better to not send a card at all.

Indeed, why bother?  Why kill trees and employee morale at the same time? Management and leadership are hard tasks, but some of their aspects simply require common sense and emotional intelligence.

On the other hand, maybe the boss is sending a message, intentionally or not. I once had a boss who sent unsigned holiday cards one year after signing them in previous years, and I said to myself that this is a sign he’s going to be leaving. A few months later, he announced his resignation!

(This post was edited as of December 2010.)

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