The office Xmas party: A Leader´s DOs and DON´Ts!

It is time for the office Christmas party. Time for celebrations, mingle, free drinks, music and dancing. Yeah, we all look forward to it! Be aware, it is also time for possible inappropriate behavior. In this blog post, I share my scandals…no, I don’t… 😉 I share my best advice for leadership behavior at the Christmas party. 


1) Do show up! It is very important that you, as the leader, show up. Your colleagues expect it and appreciate it. I am sure you will feel that it is well invested time. For leaders with family, time management is challenging. Hopefully, you can plan well in advance and attend two office parties a year, Christmas and summer. It is better to arrive early and leave early, instead of a no show!

I heard investor and celebrity hotel owner Petter Stordalen, on radio the other day. He said that he he made a clear appearance at the office party, but normally left early. I liked this approach! Last Friday at our office Christmas party, I left just after midnight, but this was because my flip-flop loving feet were hurting in my high heels! 

Close-up image of colleagues clinking glasses at Christmas party

2) Do behave like a leader at the party! Do not forget that you still have the role as a leader. Arrive in time and contribute to a good atmosphere. Mingle and be interested in your colleagues! The party is a great opportunity have other conversations, than work, with your colleagues. If someone gets drunk and start making a fool of themselves. Call a taxi and send them home!

At our office Christmas party last Friday, it was the first time in one year, because of my maternity leave, that I met many of my colleagues. And many for the first time. I made an effort to have engaging conversations with colleagues I do not work with on a day-to-day basis. I used the opportunity to hear how they all were doing both privately and at work. 


3) Don´t challenge your alcohol limits! It takes experience to drink from a free bar! Be conscious about your acceptable level of alcohol before you get trouble controlling your behavior, and stay way within these boundaries. Remember to eat before you go, if have had a stressful day!

I have heard that Nowegian politicians, in the 50s and 60s, drank cream before meeting their Russian counterparts, who gladly served vodka in the meetings. I do not pour down cream, but, actually, I ate some fried eggs as a late lunch on Friday. 🙂

Young man drunk with necktie on head

4) Don´t make a move at your employees, no matter how hot he or she is. There is often romance at the work place. As a leader, it is your responsibility to not put pressure on your employees. If you have, maybe a secret, romance with one of your employees, keep hands off and meet privately.

I have not experienced uncomfortable situations, but I have seen some. People do not think others notice. Well, others DO!

A man having an office romance, caught in the act when the phone rings.

5) Don´t exploit drunk employees to get information! People drinking can often be indiscreet. It can be tempting to use the opportunity to get some inside information. I feel that would be very wrong.

I must admit, I have heard someone talking in the ladies room, I was be tempted to sit quiet, lift my feet and listen…but decided to cough as it got bad 😉

6) Do enjoy yourself and let your shoulders down! Share the good time with your employees, give toasts, a speech, dance, mingle and be grateful for the great team you are leading! (And if you have not had time to write a speech, use the past-present-future trick, I learned at the course in rhetorics last week.) Just know your limits and do not make fool of yourself!

Do a solo dance, but keep your clothes on! Photo: BBC, from

Have a great office Christmas party! You all deserve it!



PS1: A special thanks to my colleagues who allowed me to use the great photo from our Christmas party last Friday 🙂

PS2: Have can you create a good atmosphere a the workplace? Read my popular blog post – 5 actions to create a better workplace!

PS3: 2.500 have read about the battle between Motherhood and career! Have you?

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