The holiday season each year brings an abundance of events; parties and celebrations. People coming together to celebrate life and hope with friends, family, and co-workers. As leaders, we are responsible for the tone we bring to our organizations and our teams. Your tone showcases your culture. What a great time to showcase your culture through the holiday celebration. There are so many different traditions during this time of the year, your creativity to keep a judge free zone is paramount to maintain employee engagement. And to add to the mix, the many issues of sexual misconduct in the workplace advertised in the media makes it a priority to create a safe culture as we celebrate this year. Let’s talk about holiday parties at work, it is a fun way to bring your people together, however, as you know with all the focus on sexual harassment, you have to be overly sensitive about your behavior and that of your staff. Bad behavior can impact even the best employee’s reputation and damage the organizational culture. As the leader of a team, a department, or an organization, caution, and discretion are the orders of the day…be cautious with your actions and know your limits.
1. Your Drinking. How much liquor can you manage? Seriously? Do you even know? If all you can do is one drink, stick to one drink. When in doubt, have none! Maybe you think, “I am a quiet drinker… when I drink, I stay in my own corner.” It doesn’t matter what type of drinker you are, whether you are a happy drinker, a depressed drinker or violent drinker, the result is the same, your reputation will be questioned. Furthermore, neither your team nor your BOSS needs to see or experience this side of you. Last but not least, as a leader, your first responsibility is to lead yourself.
2. Your Dancing. “So you think you can dance!” So what? How can dancing advance your career or your work relations, unless you are expecting to be promoted as the “lead“ dancer on the Alvin Ailey American Dance Studio in New York. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with dancing. In fact, I love, love to dance. I can dance to almost any type of music, it’s part of my multicultural upbringing. However, early in my career my mentor at the time, walked me through the do’s and don’ts of Corporate Etiquette in order to advance; dancing was my Achilles heel. He said, “you are being watched for a management position and I need you to tone it down.” I was surprised to know that I was being considered although I, myself, didn’t even have this possibility on my short-term list (it was in my long-term goal though). I toned it down and, yes, a couple years down the line, I got the job! I am not saying you shouldn’t dance. If this is something you enjoy, why not! Just be careful and know, you are being watched, by your people, your boss or the board. Dance, but don’t cross the line. Avoid any dance that requires close body contact to your team members or worse, your boss; no twerking, splits, jumping on the chairs and tables. Usually, when a leader asks someone to dance, the person is usually reluctant to say no, because they don’t want to offend the “boss” be mindful. These are ALL no, no’s!
3. Your Dressing. Leave your micro-mini for your “Girls Night Out” or after hour “Ladies Night.” Don’t ever go to your job holiday party dressed like this, it’s not appropriate, point blank, period. There are many appropriate styles and pieces you can use to draw positive attention. If your purpose is to stand out, do so strategically. Think fit, color, and texture. What do I mean? Whatever pieces of clothing you choose to wear, ensure it fits properly not provocatively. If your close don’t fit, take it to a tailor and have him work his magic for you. Having clothes fitted just for you is a luxury you will always treasure, no matter your size. Select a color that favors you… I love black, red or white for holiday parties. But there is nothing wrong with green, pink or purple, choose colors that flatter you. Some textures can actually make look sophisticated, like silks, sequences (with glitter, of course), tweed, velvet or brocade. However, be mindful of very thin knit textures and bulky (wool or chunky tweeds) these textures may not be flattering and can visually increase your weight. Be creative and professional with your dressing. You can wear a jumpsuit, modern pantsuit, mini (not micro) or even a midi–your choice! as long as your choice is not over the top or minimize your standing in front of your staff. Whatever you wear, make it a positive representation of you and appropriate for the event.
Remember, being the boss at any level comes with a lot of responsibility, showing up as a professional is one. At the end of the day, it boils down to… Knowing Thyself.
Remember “A Job Holiday Party” is just “A Glorified Business Meeting.” Never forget and behave accordingly.
Fay A. Lawrence, MBA, ITF. She is a Leadership and HR Strategist, Author and Master Trainer. Fay has been providing human development solutions and change management for more than 20 years at the national and international level in English and Spanish. Fay works with Fortune 500 companies as well as with Non-Profits and Governmental Agencies. She is committed to being a support and guide for organizations who want to transform their culture and develop their leadership in order to be effective and relevant in today’s market. For more information, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website at www.globalprofilesgroup.com