An employee invites you and a bunch of coworkers to a backyard barbeque party at their place this weekend. It’s intended to be a night of food, drinks, and fun. As a manager, should you go?
You’ve probably thought about or encountered situations like this before and are unsure of what role you should play outside of the office. On the one hand, getting together with employees after work is a great way to socialize and increase team morale, which can translate into greater communication and trust in the workplace. On the other hand, attending social functions and developing personal relationships with your subordinates can sometimes make your management role become unclear as the lines between the workplace and everyday life begin to blur together.
Ultimately, you want to be able to balance a friendly relationship with staff while still being able to effectively lead them towards attaining organizational objectives. While you may hit it off with certain employees outside of work, you should remember your priority role is to be a leader. What can be difficult for managers is to know how to separate business from socializing when it comes to interacting with employees in and outside of the office. Getting too casual with employees could cause them to treat you or even the company in a casual manner.
Social events with subordinates and colleagues after working hours can make it difficult to balance the professional and personal role. As a manager, social bonding with employees is important, but you need to ensure that your priority role is being an effective leader. Ultimately you want to remain in a position where you can provide instruction, direction, and feedback that will be well received. While the conversations outside of work are likely to differ from the ones that occur inside the workplace, the behaviour should still mimic a respectful and professional tone. It is important that managers set up and stick to their professional boundaries to ensure that the boss role is not undermined during off hours conduct.
So the question remains, should you attend after hour gatherings, or not? Ultimately, the decision is up to you but there are some points all managers should consider prior to saying yes to after work invitations.
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