Does social drinking help you succeed?

File courtesy of Morguefile user Dzz

File courtesy of Morguefile user Dzz

To get your drink or not to get your drink on? That may not be the question but is one of the decisions you may be faced with as a business owner or professional (especially with the holiday party season quickly approaching). A study about drinking and success came out and was discussed in Fast Company a couple months ago. It got me thinking about the reasons having a few drinks with colleagues could be an avenue for success.

Now before I go any further, I am a firm believer if you are amongst work friends in a social situation, you are still a representative of your company and more importantly yourself. Keep your hands to yourself and be mindful of what you’re saying. In other words, exercise a high level of emotional intelligence.

Back to the correlation between success and having some drinks. I don’t think the importance here is that there is drinking involved. You could just as well get together and have grape sodas (take it easy, I’m from Utah and we are crazy here) and some of the same principles of success may show up.
Here’s why I think having drinks, or grape sodas, is important.

  1. Success is about relationships
    Your ability to build relationships will dictate your level of success. If you are someone who never breaks bread with the team after work, you are missing out on the opportunity to build solid relationships.

  3. It’s an opportunity to connect
    I have had times in my career where my team didn’t always see eye-to-eye. Getting people together outside of work is an opportunity to let people into your real story. Not the story you tell at work but the story where you have hopes, dreams, fears and problems. You can’t connect with people that you don’t know and it’s hard to get to know people outside of work.

  5. Teamwork
    I have had my team participate in bowling leagues. We’ve done charitable causes together. (Let me be clear we were not drinking on that one.) Getting together outside of work is an opportunity to build “we” vs. “me”. These opportunities tend to create shared experiences that the team can rally around.

Getting your team together for drinks after work can be a great way to bond and build for success. It’s not without its’ downsides. Set clear boundaries and expectations and as a leader, it’s important that you stay in control so that you can manage these outings appropriately. If you aren’t getting your team together for some fun, get out and do it ASAP. Cheers!

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