Ah...the department picnic. Fond memories of fried chicken, hard dry burgers, 15 varieties of potato salad, a dish with melted marshmallows on top, a mystery casserole, and some wrinkled burned hotdogs.
And lots of employees with their families.
Sometimes leaders are reluctant to attend this traditional summer event (also the holiday party close to the end of the year). Other leaders look forward to these events to move the organization forward.
Why the different perspective?
Attendees at the departmant picnic or holiday party are there because: it's a chance to socialize with coworkers and introduce them to their spouse or significant other; it's an opportunity to 'see and be seen'; it's a free (or admission is bringing dish to contribute) event, and it's fun.
Leaders who look forward to the picnic are eager to meet employees' families, to mingle informally with the folks, and to see the workers in a non-work environment to gain a more complete impression of who they are. And it can be fun.
Something to keep in mind is while the leader may be coming to the event to see the employees in a different setting, the employees are coming to observe the boss in a non-work setting as well. They are seeing a different side of the leader – adding greater depth and richness to their view of this person who is leading 'their' organization.
Sometimes a leader should eat a hotdog with the troops to develop a stronger bond between her and the staff – and between the staff and her.
Which is more compelling:
the memory of a leader with a half-eaten chicken leg talking about when he played pick-up basketball as a kid and worked tables to get through college – or –
some guy standing up in front of the department meeting talking about hard times, saying 'Trust me'.
Who would you rather follow?
...And avoid that mystery casserole!
Entertaining experience - Sales Lab Video Channel