From physical fights to food fights, managers lose their cool in front of employees

Nobody can blame a boss for unwinding a bit at the holiday office party. But we all absolutely blame them for trying to dance.

Dancing-related embarrassments are some of the biggest gaffes managers make at holiday parties, according to a silly new survey from staffing firm Robert Half,  Chief financial officers reported that the top embarrassing thing they’ve heard or seen a manager do at a company holiday party is turn a dance contest into a brawl.

“Holiday and end-of-year parties are a chance for employers to recognize and celebrate their teams,” says Paul McDonald, senior executive director of Robert Half. “As much as they may want to bond with staff or show a different side of their personalities, managers must maintain the same level of professionalism they expect of their employees.”

But just because they need to show professionalism, doesn’t mean they do. While dancing-turned-fighting took the top spot, other big embarrassments include:

  • Opened someone else’s gift
  • Thrown food
  • Slept under a table
  • Tried walking across a swimming pool and – not surprisingly – fell into it
  • Used obscene language
  • Taken inappropriate pictures in a photo booth
  • Broken an ankle while break dancing
  • Fought with a boss
  • Screamed like a werewolf
  • Announced a resignation

If you were thinking about skipping the holiday party altogether, CFOs notice that, too. Respectful behavior and decorum was also part of the survey, and failing to show up was one of the top five common themes among managers with poor holiday party etiquette. Others were:

  • Sat in a corner without interacting with anyone
  • Left within 10 minutes
  • Discussed confidential company information
  • Talked negatively about coworkers

How to go to the holiday party and not embarrass yourself

Are you a manager that’s worried about your behavior at the holiday party this year? Have no fear! There’s a few ways you can keep your cool and still enjoy yourself without being a complete embarrassment.

The Robert Half survey says it’s vital to remember you’re still the boss. You can light-heartedly joke and show a funny side, but your employees still see you as a supervisor, so don’t go too far!

Be sure to be easy on the alcohol. The CFOs say most of the embarrassing gaffes from managers usually came after excessive drinking. Avoid talking too much about work so you don’t accidentally talk about confidential information. Talk about things that you don’t mind people knowing about, like your holiday plans or recent restaurants you’ve been to.

Now is the time to celebrate your team! Keep yourself out of the spotlight as much as you can and let them enjoy all the fruits of their labors. But if you do want a little of the focus, move your attention to your supervisors. Expand your network within your job to see how you can move up the corporate latter. Even if now isn’t the right time for higher-ups to get you to a higher position, they should know who you are now so when new spots open up, you’re top of mind for them.

Meet the Author

Dori Zinn

Dori Zinn


Zinn is a freelance journalist based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Career and Business

business, office life, small business

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Article last modified on November 15, 2017 Published by, LLC . Mobile users may also access the AMP Version: Holiday Parties Are Prime Time for Bosses to Embarrass Themselves - AMP.