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Happy Hour Etiquette When You’re the Boss

Feb 10, 2016 | Leadership

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We’ve all been there: Everyone in the office is going out for happy hour and they’ve invited you because, well, you’re the boss (and they might even be hoping you’ll pick up the check).

Your mind automatically asks the following questions:

  • Should I attend?
  • Maybe I should take a rain check?
  • Will this affect my credibility?
  • Do they really want me there?

Believe it or not, skipping the happy hour with your team affects the way they perceive you so don’t do it. But I will share with you happy hour etiquette and how to handle an outing for drinks with your team.

Four Tips for a Successful Happy Hour With Your Team

Show up. First rule is to participate. If you already said yes to a happy hour with your team, be there.

This is a great opportunity for your team to get to know you a little better outside of work, as well as for you to find out more about them and their interests. Plus you create a bond and a camaraderie you most certainly won’t find at work.

Eat before you go. I probably should have started with this one.

Eat before you go to a happy hour with your colleagues. It will help you drink less alcohol (which, by-the-way, you should consume responsibly) and allow you to focus on conversation and bonding with your team.

Stay in a professional mode. Even if you’re not in the office anymore, the way you act after-hours, says a lot about you. Just like you are never off the record when speaking with a reporter, the same is valid for the happy hour with your team.

You’re still the leader, and like it or not, you need to set a standard behavior and some unwritten rules. Your reputation is at stake.

Keep your professionalism and be at your best. Let your team see another great side of you.

Be the first to leave. You showed up, bonded with your colleagues, had a drink or two, and maybe even picked up the check. Now it’s time to seize the perfect moment to leave.

Wish everyone a good evening and make a graceful exit.

Leaving early will allow your team to relax, but they will value your presence, and see you as an approachable person in the office.

Your work as a leader doesn’t end when you leave the office. Your attitude and behavior in any situation define your leadership.

What other rules do you have for a happy hour with your team?

Image credit: Shutterstock

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