They’re bosses. They’re in charge. They have the power. But while some tasks are obviously out of bounds, others are less so — which is why bosses also shouldn’t use their powers to:
Make employees feel they should attend “social” events.
No matter where they happen to be, whenever employees are with people they work with, it’s like they’re at work. Whatever happens there doesn’t stay there; it comes back to work.
Embarrassing behavior aside, some people simply don’t like to socialize outside work. And that’s their choice… unless a boss does something to make them feel they should attend. Then what was probably intended as a positive get-together becomes anything but.
And keep in mind that “pressure” can be as simple as saying, “Hey, Joel, I hope you can come to the Christmas party…” While all you may be doing is letting Joel know you enjoy his company, if he doesn’t want to attend, this is what he hears: “Joel, if you don’t come to the party I will be disappointed in you.”
The best outside social events have themes that work for employees. Maybe it’s a kids’ Christmas party. Or a picnic at a theme park. Or taking anyone who wants to go to a sporting event. The right move is to choose one or two broad themes that cover the majority of employees interests, and let that be that.
Bottom line: never try to force camaraderie or togetherness. It doesn’t work.
January 10, 2014 in Resource Centre