Nancy MitchellNancy R. Mitchell is an established protocol and etiquette consultant and advisor with more than 30 years of experience in the field. Currently, she is an adjunct faculty member at George Washington University, where she developed and teaches protocol courses to Event Management Certificate Program students in the School of Business and Public Management, and at Stratford University, Falls Church, VA. She serves also as protocol and special events consultant to the Library of Congress, the world’s largest library and cultural center. For 23 years, Mitchell was Director of Special Events and Public Programs at the Library of Congress where she and her staff were responsible for planning and managing over 400 events each year. She coordinated the institution’s major special events, visits of heads of state and other foreign dignitaries, fundraising galas, conferences and meetings. As the Library’s chief protocol advisor, she served as liaison to the White House, U.S Department of State, the Congress, the Supreme Court and other government agencies, foreign embassies, academia and corporations. Mitchell owns The Etiquette Advocate, Inc., a firm providing etiquette and protocol training to corporations, universities, embassies, government agencies, non-profit organizations and individuals. She is the etiquette consultant to Engaged! magazine, has been featured on Good Morning America, Fox 5 News, WTOP Radio and National Public Radio, and is quoted on matters of etiquette and protocol by the New York Times, Washington Business Journal, and the Washington Post. She is a co-owner of the firm, Protocol Partners-Washington Center for Protocol, Inc., and is a member of the Protocol and Diplomacy International Protocol Officers Association and the Women Business Owners of Montgomery Country (MD).
Host: When is it necessary or appropriate to give my boss a gift?
Nancy Mitchell: As a rule of firm an employee does not usually give a gift to a boss and bosses should not expect gifts from people whom they employ. There may be exceptions to that rule. If for instance your boss is more a friend, is more a mentor, you have very special relationship and a long standing relationship with the boss you may in fact want to give a gift. There are certain things you need to ask yourself at that point, why am I giving the gift? And that checklist should include, am I thanking them for a special mentoring? And I thanking them for the support they have given me, for the opportunities they have given me in business. Then yes give them something to thank them, at the end of the year, at a birthday, at the anniversary of their service to the company, it is perfectly alright.
One thing to avoid is giving beyond your means, you earn at a certain level, your boss earns at another level, don t give a gift that is at the economic level of your boss, you give a gift which is at your economic level. Try to personalize it, you of all people you have spend time with that boss, you know his or her interests, do they like sports? Do they like cooking? Do they like travel? Do they like movies? Are they eco-friendly? Are they involved in the community shelter or other charity where a donation in their name would be something that would be very, very appropriate for them? So try to choose a gift at your economic level that fits their need or their interest and you will never go wrong, you also personalize it by including a note that thanks them, for whatever they have done for you during the year and explains if you will why you are giving the gift, but bosses should never expect gifts from employees.