Orangeville, ON (Jason Mead) I’ve noticed a new trend. People who operate a solo business, signing their emails “The _ Team.” This pompous pump-up belongs in the same dustbin as “the royal ‘we.'”

Historians tell us that Henry II of England originated the custom. For King Henry, “we” referred to his co-reign with God. When someone who works alone today uses “we” instead of “I,” it signals either shame at being small or royal pretentiousness.

Both “The _ Team” and its cousin “we” distance you from customers who may prefer to know who they’re dealing with. You should avoid vague, diffuse “we.” You cannot capitalize on your talent, one-on-one relationships, or personal strengths.

In the so called the Age of Authenticity, you’re putting on a mask that doesn’t fit well. Such branding sets up a smokescreen rather than relevant credentials and background information.

I offer one final cautionary note. Psychologist James Pennebaker analyzed 400,000 writing passages, including court transcripts. He found people are prone to using “we” when they’re lying.