Dear Barb: I just graduated from AU, and I am looking forward to beginning my career. I have been offered a management position at a large company, and I want to start out on the right foot. Throughout my life, people have told me that at times I am too gregarious at social events. I want to make a good impression at my new job. I’m not sure where to draw the line as far as social activities go. I don’t want to over-step social boundaries, yet I don’t want to appear remote or unapproachable. Can you offer any ideas to help me achieve the right balance in this area?
Sue – Edmonton
Congratulations Sue, on your graduation and your new job.
A position in the corporate world is much different than any jobs you probably have had up to this point. And a management role includes a whole different set of principles. As you obviously understand, you need to maintain a certain relationship with the employees reporting to you, as well as with your superiors. Initially, you need to assess your new workplace. Is it formal or informal? Some businesses encourage social interaction between management and employees while others do not. A formal workplace generally entails employees working regular hours with minimal interaction between coworkers and no after hours socializing. Informal workplaces generally encourage social interactions during and after work hours. However, most workplaces today tend to fall somewhere between formal and informal.
It is very insightful of you to realize you may have to adjust your personality to fit into your new role as a manager. Socializing with your employees is important, as it can be a morale booster for them. Informal gatherings can give the boss, as well as the employee, a chance to get to know each other outside of their day-to-day role within the workplace, thus providing a more expansive view of the individual.
I found an excellent site that includes seven guidelines to be aware of when socializing after work hours. I will briefly include them here. However, for a more comprehensive description, check out of the Business Know-How website located at http://www.businessknowhow.com/growth/socialize.htm.
1) Avoid off colour humour. Don’t tell any joke that you would not tell at a staff meeting.
2) Do not touch, other than a handshake, when greeting someone.
3) Do not drink to excess. If you do, you will most likely do or say something that will embarrass you and will be remembered for years to come.
4) Make sure you do not spend your time with a select group or individual, as you may be accused of favouritism, especially if the individual receives the next promotion.
5) Do not discuss work related topics. Talk about current events, movies, books, etc.
6) Spend time listening to what others are saying. No one likes a loud mouth.
7) Finally, remember what mom told you, “Use your manners.”
Good luck Sue. I hope I have been helpful.
Lampton, B. (2006). Socialize successfully with your boss and employees. Business Know How. Retrieved from http://www.businessknowhow.com/growth/socialize.htm.
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