I asked a group of young managers who had invited their boss to dinner at their home. They looked at me like I was nuts. They told me why it was a bad idea.
“I like to keep separation between my work and my outside life.”
“My boss would think something was wrong.”
“I don’t want to spend time with my boss outside work.”
“It is just a bad idea!”
I am not so sure.
Your boss has a way of thinking about you that might not be the most useful for you as you seek to improve your career.
Your boss might see you as “Sally, who sits in the cube down the hall”. If so, she doesn’t know enough about you to be much of an asset in expanding or improving your career or helping you get to the next level.
Inviting your boss home for dinner can change everything. Your boss will meet your family. She will see how you interact with the people you love. She will notice how you care for your home. She will appreciate the fact that you took the time and put in the work to cook a (hopefully) delicious meal.
I guarantee your boss will never see you the same way. You will have broken down a significant barrier by shifting from being simply “Sally in the cube” to being a real person. You will have crossed the “friendship barrier”. Breaking down the barrier between boss and employee can make all the difference in improving your team relationship.
The results of your investment might not be immediate, but will almost always be useful (as long as your boss had a good experience). You may notice that she is friendlier than before she came to your home. She may also begin to show more interest in your dreams and ambitions. It is exactly those subtle changes that move you from back to front of mind when a new opportunity surfaces.
It is so important to find ways to stand out from the crowd. Your good work is certainly one of those ways. Expanding your relationship with key decision makers from employee to friend is another.