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10 cringeworthy things managers have done at holiday parties

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While turning a dance contest into a brawl, using obscene language and throwing food on the floor may seem more like scenes from a rough weekend, they are in fact from a corporate holiday party.

A recent Robert Half survey of financial executives found these were just a few of managers’ worst moments at holiday parties.

Surveying 2,200 CFOs about the most embarrassing thing they have seen or heard about a manager doing at a company holiday party, the survey revealed 25 of managers’ most embarrassing holiday mishaps. Here are the 10 most cringeworthy:

  • Turning a dance contest into a brawl
  • Opening someone else’s gift
  • Throwing food on the floor
  • Trying to walk across a swimming pool and – not surprisingly – falling into it
  • Using obscene language
  • Taking inappropriate pictures in a photo booth
  • Breaking an ankle while break dancing
  • Fighting with a boss
  • Screaming like a werewolf
  • Coming into the holiday party to receive a bonus cheque before resigning

View the full list here.

In addition to these embarrassing mishaps, poor etiquette was also revealed as a common theme, with respondents noting that managers have:

  • Sat in a corner without interacting with anyone
  • Left within 10 minutes
  • Failed to show up
  • Discussed confidential company information
  • Talked negatively about coworkers
  • Spread rumors about employees

ALSO READ: Employees want a bonus, not a Christmas party

“Holiday and end-of-year parties are a chance for employers to recognise and celebrate their teams,” said Paul McDonald, senior executive director of Robert Half.

“As much as they may want to bond with staff or show a different side of their personalities, managers must maintain the same level of professionalism they expect of their employees.”

McDonald added a bad night can have longer-term consequences. “Word travels fast. When bosses embarrass themselves, they risk losing the respect of their teams, executives and customers,” he said.

READ MORE: Fewer firms to throw office holiday parties this year

With the holiday season fast approaching, Robert Half highlighted six things managers need to keep in mind when attending corporate holiday parties:

#1 You’re still the boss
Show your lighter side, but remember employees will look to you as an example even outside of the office.

#2 Don’t be a barfly
Never overindulge in alcohol. Many of the mishaps CFOs witnessed came after someone had too much to drink.

#3 Loose lips sink ships
It’s never appropriate to reveal confidential information about your company or coworkers. If you’re worried about not having enough to talk about, come up with a list of safe topics – weekend plans, movie reviews, food – before the event.

#4 This is a good career opportunity
You may have the chance to speak with executives and others with whom you don’t normally interact. Have fun at the party, keeping in mind it’s also a time for you to expand your internal network and build your visibility.

#5 Keep the focus on staff
Celebrate your team, and give them their moment. By ceding the spotlight, you’ll show how much you appreciate their contributions.

#6 You need to go back to work the next day
A tabletop nap, alcohol-powered soliloquy or inappropriate dance routine may feel like a one-time blunder but you’ll need to face everyone as soon as you’re back in the office. In other words, don’t be that guy or girl everyone is gossiping about the next morning.

Photo / 123RF 

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