- Do understand your corporate culture
- Do maintain good judgement
- Do mix it up
- Don't pull rank
Many new bosses find it relatively easy to manage at work, it’s outside of work events that can present a challenge. Which reminds me of when police arrested two house squatters in Turnbridge, VT. Far from trashing the place, these house squatters embarked on a major home remodel-they tore out walls, re-did the plumbing and re-modeled a bathroom. How did they pay for all this work? They sold antiques that were lying around the place.
Just as those squatters got a bit too comfortable in a house that wasn’t theirs, you need to be careful to not get too comfortable with your former coworkers. I’m not saying that you need to vist solitary confinement, but you do need to tread carefully in non-work settings. For more advice, check out Deep and Sussman’s book, “Act on It” (Perseus, 2000).
DO understand your corporate culture. Some organizations really push teamwork. Bosses and employees are encouraged to remove barriers between them. For example, Southwest Airline’s Halloween parties are wild affairs with employees and bosses partying together. On the other hand, the military has long encouraged non-“fraternization” policies between troops and officers. So start by examining your organization’s culture and policies.
DO maintain good judgement. If you are a two-drinks-and-the-lampshade-is-on-your-head kind of person-you’re in trouble. On the other hand, if you can keep your head about you even when every one else is losing theirs, then you probably don’t have nearly as much to be worried about. With alcohol and time parties often become more problematic. So one general rule to follow is to always be one of the first ones to leave. Sure you’ll miss some fun, but chances are good you’ll dodge some bullets too.
DO mix it up. Most of us tend to spend the majority of our time in social settings with the people we feel closest to; however you need to be careful to not show favoritism to certain employees. Be sure to spend quality time with everyone who works for you at the party.
DON’T pull rank. You need to be careful to just be one of the guests at a party. Don’t make little joking references to what you might do when you get back to the office, etc. We need to hold our power lightly at work, and be even more careful when we are away from the workplace.
Back to our squatters in Vermont-the arresting officer said they told him that they don’t believe in individual ownership of property. Which is probably why in his police report described them as having a “different mindset” than the average person. And so should you now that you are calling the shots at work.
911 Pulse: Should bosses socialize with people who report to them?
- Party hearty, 10.7%
- Just say no, 26.8%
- Depends on the party, 62.3%
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