Please stop introducing yourself at work via your boss’s identity

So often I see and hear people introduce themselves as: “… directly reporting to Jane” or “working in Mike’s team.” At some point in a relationship that may be meaningful. To someone, maybe. But your introduction is definitely not the right time. Who are you?

Introducing yourself by way of your boss’s identity means you don’t have one of your own.

Your boss may be really well known, very well-achieved, a nobel laureate, or a total genius. But you aren’t, or you would be introducing yourself instead of them. I think people are well intentioned when they do this — I think they believe it will help others associate them with a function or capability of the business. Sometimes it might do that, but that does you and the person you are talking to a disservice. Having a smidgen of empathy for your audience is helpful here. Why were you appointed to this role? Why do they need to or want to know you? Why do you want to know them?

Proud of your tribe? Same logic holds.

Even when you are proud to be associated with your “tribe” — whether that’s your team, your division, your company or your boss, it’s not who you are. You can still convey it! Introduce yourself, and then mention WHY you are so pleased to be a part of that tribe. “[Who I am]+[What value I bring]+[Why I’m excited to be here]” is a simple and easy approach that relies on your own identity, and is actually helpful to others.

Here are a few reasonable examples:

“Hi, I’m Jane Doe. I am a new designer for our education customers — I’ve been designing for many years, but I’m new to education so this is really exciting for me.”
“Hi, I’m Jane Doe. I am a designer. I just got started here and I’m learning about e-Commerce as quickly as a I can to get up to speed.”
“Hi, I’m Jane Doe. I am a manager in the design team. I am super excited about helping my designers grow and figure out how to use their strengths in the best way possible. Just ramping up here, so I’d love to learn more about how your team works.”

It’s not silly to practice.

Especially when you get a new job or a new role, it can catch you off guard to introduce yourself! Practice what you want to get across. Don’t go overboard, but do take a minute to think about how to describe who you are and how others can know when to rely upon you.

YOU are the topic of conversation. As Brene Brown says: “Don’t shrink, don’t puff up. Just stand your sacred ground.”

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