Nonstandard Techniques: Socializing

As a leader, you should expect your staff to do their jobs and work in harmony. If you had to stop and read that sentence again, you probably have leadership or managerial experience. Getting a staff to work in harmony, or gung ho, is easier said than done.

 

Plain English : Gung ho is a Chinese term meaning "work together." The term was first adopted by U.S. Marines in the 1940s.

Using humor is one way to keep an organization in good spirits. Another way is to recognize people as individuals and to acknowledge that they have a life outside the organization.

You can do this by organizing semiregular social gatherings for your group. Even something as casual as declaring each Friday morning bagel day can produce the desired effect. Giving your team the green light to communicate outside the context of their jobs will help to build camaraderie and relax the atmosphere.

How to Encourage Socialization

Large corporations often host holiday parties to reward employees for a job well done. However, there's no need to wait until December. Here are some ideas for encouraging organized socialization in your group:

  • Breakfast on the boss.
    Once a week, or once a month, spring for bagels or doughnuts and/or coffee for your staff.

  • Timeout for birthdays.
    Each month, have one small afternoon gathering for everyone in the organization who celebrates a birthday that month.

  • Make friends with newcomers.
    Encourage older employees to take a new employee out to lunch. New employees can often feel like outsiders. Jump-start their inclusion in the workforce by giving them the opportunity to cultivate friendships with other employees.

  • BBQ on the boss.
    If you have a small enough staff and feel comfortable with it, invite your staff to your house for a barbecue. However, both you and your staff will feel better if you set up rules. For instance, instead of merely saying that the barbecue begins at 7 P.M., say the barbecue will last from 7 P.M. to 9 P.M. That way, they won't feel guilty for leaving and you won't have anyone in your house until 2 A.M.

How Not to Encourage Socialization

Although some social outlets are a good thing, make sure they remain the exception rather than the rule. Your group needs to continue to identify the workplace as just that: a place where work is done.