I came across this post the other day. The basic premise of the article is that it is a bad idea for managers to attend a non-work-related happy hour with their subordinates.
While I see the point, I wholeheartedly disagree.
This is not a one-size-fits-all situation. As a manager, you have to know if your authority will be compromised by attending these functions, and if so, you shouldn’t attend. However, I’ve had several managers in the past that I gained MORE respect for by having a drink or three with them at an impromptu happy hour after work.
You see, we often wear “masks” at the office, or in our professional lives in general. We have a certain role to be filled, and (depending on the office) our personalities take a back seat.
How much do you really learn about someone in that setting? Not a whole lot.
On the other hand, attending some kind of social function (it doesn’t have to be happy hour) with your co-workers, including managers, that isn’t work-related in any way allows people to relax and just be themselves.
If you know a person outside of the confines of the office, you’re much more likely to understand why a manager is making that decision, or why an employee is challenging you on a specific issue.
It has potential to defuse situations inside the office because you’ve taken the time to get to know each other outside the office.
What do you think? Is it a good idea for managers and subordinates to hangout together outside of the office?