Let’s make this easy.
If your religious or political convictions are strong, AND you believe that you are called to use your leadership position to do everything in your power to bring your team members around to your point of view, this post is not for you.
Go watch the small but lovely film “The Big Kahuna,” which explores the complexity of that deeply felt calling.
If you subscribe to the idea that leaders meet the needs of the organization and its team members, read on.
Etiquette exists to make people feel comfortable.
This time of year, some media suggest that people get worked up about how to greet people in an authentic, yet sensitive way. I believe that this consternation is way over-stated.
But, assuming there’s something to this dilemma, here’s some simple guidance:
Say whatever greeting you think the recipient wants to hear.
If you know they prefer “Merry Christmas,” lay it on them. If you know they prefer “Happy Holidays,” bring it. If they’re Jewish, say “Happy Chanukah,” but be sure to time it right. (Hint: it’s over.)
If you don’t know, just use whatever greeting you’ve heard the most in the hallway. I have never, ever seen anyone get offended by any greeting this time of year. I just see all kinds of social media posts about how it could happen.
Heck, my Islamic-Atheist friend says “Merry Christmas” to me without a hint of irony.
Etiquette exists to make people feel comfortable. Other people – not you.
Tell people what they want to hear, and move forward.
Or – play it really safe with “Happy New Year!”