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Our manager has nicknames for many of us, and all of these names are different animals. We all find this to be childish and degrading, but we are reluctant to say something because he can get very upset. Should we just live with this, or can you suggest something different?

It sounds like you work for a bear of a manager whose use of animal names is nothing more than a power play. People who want to flex their power are inclined to dole out nicknames, and this is why you do not see employees giving nicknames to their managers, at least not to their managersí faces.

If you and your associates are upset by this name-calling, you need to let your manager know. Several of you should meet with him and express your dissatisfaction in having your names cannibalized and animalized. Let your manager see how this practice is interfering with satisfaction and productivity, and be sure he understands that you want this labeling to stop.

Remember that every time you answer to your nickname, you are rewarding him. As an alternative strategy, the next time he addresses you with a pet name, try saying your name in a friendly tone, and do not act until he uses it. If you and your associates stop jumping through hoops when he uses animal names, he is more likely to put them out to pasture. Hopefully he will come to understand that there is far more to gain by addressing all of you by your given names, and not by the names he has given you.

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