Dos and Don’ts for the Office Holiday Party: Boss Edition

Dos and Don’ts for the Office Holiday Party: Boss Edition

Dos and Don’ts for the Office Holiday Party: Boss Edition

Ah, the office party. A time-honored tradition of overdrinking, oversharing, and awkward moments made even more awkward by the fact that you are at a company-sponsored event.

Here are my top dos and don’ts for the office holiday party: boss edition:


  • Arrive early. You’re the boss. You should be the first one there and the last to leave (well, you or a designated party official).
  • Dress appropriately. You are the standard for the party. If the theme is “Ugly Sweater,” then you should be sporting the most hideous monstrosity available. If it’s cocktail attire, then you should set an example for what you expect to see.
  • Make time for everyone. You are the boss, but that doesn’t make you better than everyone. Make it a point to shake hands and mingle with absolutely everyone in attendance at least once. It may be exhausting, but everyone should get your attention, however briefly.
  • Remember this is still a business event. Business is business and personal is personal. Don’t cross the line at a holiday party under the guise of alcoholic indulgence or festive feelings.
  • Talk about something else. You are not your business, alone, so talk about other things. No one wants to discuss Q4 or Q1 over bacon-wrapped scallops and champagne.
  • Put your phone away. We get it, you’re busy and important, but put the phone away for a few hours and celebrate your people.
  • Thank everyone. Your team is the reason you have a business, so thank them again and again!


  • Call in sick the next day. I know, I know, you are the boss and you do what you want, but if you expect your staff to be present and you didn’t pre-arrange the day off and you aren’t dying of food poisoning, show up. They have to, too!
  • Drink too much. Again, set the example of what you expect.
  • Tell inappropriate jokes. This one is always tricky for me because I can make some of the most inappropriate jokes imaginable, but at a work event, you still have to be professional and assume no one is really your friend. Again, work is work and personal is personal.
  • Gossip about anyone. Even if you let an employee go only weeks before the party, try never to engage in any kind of slander against an employee (former or current) with another employee (or anyone for that matter) at a mixed company event. You never know who knows who, what will be heard, or how it will be interpreted. Keep it professional.

Remember, this party is about your team and your company, not you. Keep it light, keep it festive, and keep it professional!

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