Management Etiquette

There is no harm in having a good relationship with your management team in the work place, but how far is too far? Could a simple ‘x’ at the end of the conversation be too much? Ben Glover finds out more.


I’ve just had a notification from Linked In as someone wishes to connect with me. It starts off with ‘Ben, there is a new connection waiting for you.’ Probably another recruitment agency trying to find me a job. I delete it. No so much for the fact it has no interest to me more the fact it starts with my name at the start. I know it is good practice to start with someone’s name as oppose to ‘dear’ or ‘hi’ but is this not a bit demanding?

Then there is the opposite end of the scale, how to end the e-mail. Sure there is the usual ‘Yours’ and ‘best wishes’ but when does an e-mail go too far? When it ends with a kiss? That small symbol of an ‘x’ could say a lot about your management or working style. While it is healthy to be informal now and then in a working relationship employees get more done if the content is formal.

My wife has a great working relationship with the female CEO of her company, they grew up together, lived together and know how each other tick. When you have known somebody that long you have worked with then it is pretty much acceptable. But what if it was the other way around? What if it was to a male CEO? Things change.

After spending over 20 years in media the exchange between my male gay friends (and even some straight) often ends with a ‘x’ in the text, to me it is an endearment after knowing them for so long. I’d be a little surprised if it was someone I had just met who was equally as forward. In some countries outside of the UK some may take offence to such action.

In 2011 I moved to Malta to work in a management position. The aim was to shake up the team a bit and find the best talents within. With communication at an all time low I set up many closed group forums, FB pages and a place to exchange ideas. Being British I would sometimes end my content with a kiss, just to show my ‘informal’ side. This I was to learn was a no no. Why? A lot of families there are Catholic and children are brought up in the correct way to address each other, being kind, supportive and respecting each other. Placing a ‘x’ is seen to be forward in exchange, even in a social environment via text message. And I totally get it. Does respect end or start with a kiss?

Bottom line rules:

  • Keep it professional – don’t put a kiss
  • Outside of work – don’t put a kiss
  • If you are replying to the boss who has already put a ‘x’ – don’t put a kiss back.

I have known many relationships or indeed working contracts that have ended from a kiss at the bottom of the email. OK, it may not be a sack-able offence but this has often snow balled and been a mislead communication.

Of course if you are in a relationship not ending with a kiss can open the flood gates to a week long of silent treatment, questions along with judge and jury. One may just simply forget to do it. For some it has been misleading and led to other things, sometimes for the worse. And please, do not substitute a ‘x’ for an emoji…that’s an entirely new subject!


 Ben Glover


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