Go Have a Drink

When you work in a growing organization it is easy to get really wrapped up in your work, so involved, in fact, that you might not have much of a life beyond the office. You start by working hard when you’re at the office, then you cannot help but think about things while you are at home, and even if you go on holiday it’s easy to spend your time thinking about your work challenges rather than just relaxing. Sometimes you realize you just need to go out and really unwind. And sometimes, your employees realize that for you.

When you have not been doing anything socially with your team, and then out of nowhere a group of them suggest getting together for a drink after work, you might want to take them up on it. It could be a sign of a couple things, and it’s worth asking yourself why they want to do that.

It may be the case that they really enjoy working for you and are hoping to get to know you better. They could be looking for some kind of a mentoring relationship, and see this is a chance to hear your stories in a more relaxing environment.

Another option you need to consider, though, is that maybe they just think you really, really need to lighten up.

If you are going a bit overboard in your job, to the point that you do not have much of a life outside of it, then your attitude is likely to be affecting your employees, too. You are probably coming in with great new ideas every day that you expect them to implement. You are calling them on the weekends to ask about work. You try to micromanage everything. And because you don’t have a life, you don’t understand why they would want one, either.

Your team will put up with this, but only to a point. If they think the job is not worth the hassle, they will leave. But if they like what they do and want to continue doing it, they will instead try to fix the problem, and that means fixing you. They may try talking to you directly, but it’s very likely they will first try to get you out of the work environment and help you chill out. This can be an opportunity for you to step back, relax, and regain a little balance between your personal and professional lives, and that can make their lives easier. It can be a chance for them to raise issues they might not feel comfortable raising more formally in the office. Of course, there may not be an ulterior motive behind it, but if the invitation is surprising, there might be a very good reason they are extending it.

The first time your employees ask you out, your initial response should not be “I don’t drink,” or something else equally silly. After all, bars have soft drinks, too. Take a moment and consider the reasons behind the request, and realize it might just be better to go spend an evening drinking club soda with your employees than to ignore their invitation.

And whatever you do, don’t spend the evening talking about work.

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