DEAR MISS MANNERS: A work colleague has posed that we give an impromptu holiday gift to a cleaning staff member in our building. The “minimum donation” is far above what any of us at work feels comfortable giving.
One of us politely let him know that his request borders on extortion, especially given the aggressive nature in which he posed his request (e.g., threats that non-participants will be labeled “anti-immigrant” and “anti-Christmas”).
I don’t disagree with my colleague’s impulse to be generous in the holiday season, but I’m deeply disturbed that he’s perhaps using this act as a way to demonstrate his leadership skills and power in the office.
I’m wondering if there’s an alternate way to express our gratitude to the cleaning staff, rather than through large sums of money.
GENTLE READER: Gratitude to employees is best expressed with money, although the amount must be determined by each contributor.
But Miss Manners assures you that you needn’t worry about your colleague’s leadership skills -- he doesn’t have any. Issuing bills and adding threats is no way to lead people. And to remove any sense of power, you need only ignore this and contribute what you see fit.