How to tell a boss she got your name wrong

  • Apr. 28, 2017 12:30 a.m.

Q: How do you go about correcting a boss who repeatedly pronounces your name wrong?

Have a polite yet direct conversation with your boss in a private setting. Clearly explain where the mispronunciation lies, so that he or she won’t make the mistake again. Say, “Boss, I’m not sure if you realize it, but my name is actually not pronounced ‘Ahna.’ It’s pronounced, ‘Anna,’ like banana.” You might even add a funny story to help make it stick, like, “My mom still calls me ‘Anna Banana.’ I guess childhood nicknames stay with us forever.”

The same way that we are often relieved (after we get over the embarrassment) when someone tells us that we have broccoli in our teeth, a boss will welcome this information and may even ask why you didn’t share it sooner.

When your boss says your name correctly in future interactions, make sure to acknowledge this with a nod and direct eye contact. And, if the boss returns to the old habit of mispronunciation, gently remind him or her with a smile. “Remember? Anna, like banana.”

— Dr. Amy Cooper Hakim, workplace expert and author of “Working With Difficult People”

I find that it’s normally enough just to let someone know in a nonconfrontational way that my name, Vaux, rhymes with “hawks.” Breaking down your name into English-style chunks can help bosses. Maybe your supervisor knows someone with your name who pronounces it differently than you do.

The name Maurice is pronounced “Morris” in British English, for example, but “More-REECE” in American English. If you’re a British Maurice working in the United States, your boss may find it strange to call you “Morris” when your name is clearly “Maurice.”

In this case, add a friendly anecdote to help your boss situate his or her newly forming memory trace in a richer context. I say something like: “It’s like Vauxhall station in London, just without the — hall.”

Just Posted

Campaign renews push to make Bighorn Backcountry a wildland provincial park, ATV groups unhappy

A push to provide provincial protection for the Bighorn Backcountry area has… Continue reading

Flu cases steadily climb in Central Alberta

So far the number of Central Albertans admitted to hospital with the… Continue reading

CP Holiday train makes stops in Central Alberta

The popular train will feature entertainment from Colin James and Emma-Lee

Auditor general flags Royal Military College for costs, cadet behaviour

The Royal Military College of Canada has taken another blow to its… Continue reading

After death of 8th child, Ikea relaunches dresser recall in U.S and Canada

NEW YORK — Ikea relaunched a recall of 29 million chests and… Continue reading

VIDEO: Replay Red Deer: Nov. 19

Watch news highlights from the week of Nov. 13

Update: Innisfail girl found

A 15-year-old missing Innisfail girl has been located safe and sound. Police… Continue reading

Red Deer Christmas Bureau to help 1,300 children this year

Demand is high, but Red Deer always provides

CP Holiday train makes stops in Central Alberta

The popular train will feature entertainment from Colin James and Emma-Lee

Kittens rescued after allegedly being tossed from vehicle

Couple finds abandoned kittens new home through Facebook

VIDEO: ‘Party bus’ goes up in flames in Vancouver

Fire crews responded to the late night blaze

Chicken crosses B.C. road, stops traffic

Rooster makes early morning commuters wait in Maple Ridge

Red Deerian honours her brother who died in a motorcycle collision

Houaida Haddad is encouraging Red Deer residents to donate blood

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month