Leadership doesn’t stop for the Christmas Party!!!

It is the time of year to be merry. It is the time of year that we eat and drink more. It is the time of year that we have a party to celebrate the arrival of the festive season.

And it is the time of year that some businesses create an issue that is fueled by alcohol, and that hangs around way longer than the hangover.

It is caused by people behaving badly at the Christmas party …

But what is the solution, and what can be done to ensure that this year’s Christmas party is not one that we will remember for years to come?

The big thing is to remember that leadership doesn’t stop at 5pm on the day of the party. It extends through to the end of the party, and beyond; in the case of people needing to get home safely. Here are my top 5 tips for how to make this year’s Christmas party a safe one, that is remembered for the fun, not the f#$% ups. And it is very specifically leaders that I am talking to below, not the team members; their behaviour is the responsibility of the leaders in the business.

1. Do a Risk Assessment

I know this goes without saying, but it is often overlooked by leaders. What a risk assessment allows you to do is to look at what might go wrong, and then put risk controls in place to prevent or mitigate the risk. Generally, the planning gets done, the venue gets hired, the booze gets booked and everyone gets the email about what will happen on the night (or during the day, in the case of our little business). But we don’t stop and think about what could go wrong. Here are some things to consider. In a 2004 study of 12,889 eye injuries that were caused by pressurised bottles (aka champagne corks), 26% of the injuries resulted in permanent blindness (some countries have warning labels on the corks – and that has reduced the number of injuries). A risk control could be to only have them opened by a bar tender behind the bar for example.  Or what about how people will get home after the party? The risk control is to provide transport. These are just two of a myriad of risks that you might like to consider.

If you would like a risk assessment template, please make contact at: theteam@theguineagroup.com.au

2. Set Expectations

The second biggest thing that is missed when preparing for a Christmas party. Why are leaders fearful of setting behavioural expectations for Christmas parties? Because they don’t want to be party poopers. I get it. I also get that if you don’t set expectations, you shouldn’t be surprised when they are not met, and when there is an alcohol fueled behavioural tragedy that occurs at the event. Setting expectations can be as simple as sharing what will not be accepted, or that intoxication will result in removal from the party. Be firm. Don’t be concerned about upsetting people, and if you do, great – your message will be received loud and clear. I regularly hear comments about ‘how pissed people are going to get on the company funds’, or other comments that worry me. Christmas parties are about celebrations, not competing to see who can consume the most free alcohol.

What you don’t want is to have to terminate someone’s employment following the Christmas party – a 2018 has shown that 1 in 10 workers in the UK have been fired or disciplined following a Christmas party. Set people up for success early.

3. Be a Leader

This one might be a bit direct for some. The role of a leader is to model the expected behaviour. If you set the expectations (as above) and don’t follow those guidelines yourself, your party will spiral out of control, fast. Even at the Christmas party, your staff are looking at you for an example of how to behave. If you can be controlled, your staff are more likely to follow your lead, than if you aren’t in control. Be a force for good at your Christmas party, and don’t overdo the alcohol consumption. Even better, consider drinking only light alcohol, or none at all, so that you can respond and take care of any incidents that might occur – which hopefully won’t if you follow this guide ?

4. Respond, don’t react

This is an extension of the above point – as well as controlling your drinking, control your emotions. Be in control of how you respond to comments that are made by people as they start letting their hair down. Be in control of your automatic reactions to what your staff say or do. Know that when you react with your emotional brain, you will say and do things that you regret. If you take time to reflect, and respond, with your frontal smart brain, you will be better placed to speak with purpose and be on point … the whole night. Remember that alcohol inhibits desires, so be mindful of what you might want to say, versus what you should say and what you should save for another time and place.

And responding is about being ready to step in and control any situation that requires strong leadership. If you are drunk, you won’t be much good to anyone, and you won’t be able to lead under pressure (when you might be required to).

5. Be grateful

Be the leader who is grateful for their team’s performance, grateful for another safe year, and grateful that we all still have a job. Express that gratitude, and thank your team for their contribution and commitment. You will be amazed at how far that goes and how much it means to your staff.

And remember to have fun. Enjoy yourself. And wake up fresh the next day!

And please click the image below if you’d like to chat about what leadership means to you.

If you would like to learn more about Anton or The Guinea Group, please click hereto book into Anton’s calendar, to:

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About Anton

Anton has dedicated his working life to helping leaders to upgrade their mindset, upskill their leadership, and uplift their teams! With a focus on helps leaders to better lead under pressure. Anton is an entrepreneur, speaker, consultant, bestselling author and founder of The Guinea Group. Over the past 19 years, Anton has worked with over 175+ global organisations, he has inspired workplace leadership, safety, and cultural change. He’s achieved this by combining his corporate expertise, education (Bachelor of HR and Psychology), and infectious energy levels.
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