I always did my best to get an appointment somewhere far away to avoid attending the office end of year party and yet never seemed to quite manage to! This is back in my corporate days and as head of a department, attending this big annual social event was an obligation (but not if I wasn’t there!).

Frankly I found one or two of my fellow publishing movers and shakers bleakly challenging to spend too much time around. Usually during the year, I would be out on the road four out of five days, being at this party though inevitably brought me into close proximity with those very people I tended to quite easily avoid the rest of the time.

This was in the days before smoking inside of restaurants became banned by law and this event would see me spending several long hours listening to expletively ridden moaning about how bad life at the office is or else slightly drunken self-aggrandizement, all while simultaneously peering through a thick cloud of cigarette smoke as I attempted to make out who I might actually be talking with anyway. All in all, a thoroughly grim experience.


As any empowered manager will confirm, getting the best from others requires encouragement, setting realistic targets with clear incentives once they are reached. Making staff feel part of a team and for sure here we are all working towards the same cause. Trusting them with responsibility and giving them the space to get on with their tasks (but also being available if they need help). Ensuring everyone feels comfortable within their environment, so work becomes a mutually pleasurable experience for all.

At some point, of course, someone is going to make an error - a member of staff will forget to do something, inadvertently make a poor deal or any of the other hundred and one crisis moments which happen in the day to day running of a business.

Having an open-door policy for staff to bring their issues to the manager is essential; our manager needs to be accessible to his or her co-workers. If the error isn’t down to dishonesty or downright incompetence, supporting the member of staff and helping them to sort out their mess will ensure their loyalty far more than any metaphorical dragging them over hot coals. They will usually be fully aware they goofed-up and allowing them the chance to atone and make things good team-builds brilliantly!

As a business owner, if one of your senior managers makes an error in judgement, the automatic response for many seems to be to let them go and replace them. Far better again, unless the error is down to dishonesty or catastrophic incompetence, back them and allow them to sort their mess out. Everyone goofs-up sometimes…if it can be fixed then support the process and if it is truly beyond repair, be honest within the company and then fire-fight to recover any public loss of reputation.


The wise people down through the ages have always had a degree of humility and assuredly a sense of humour within their personality, plus a driven assertiveness to see through what they believe to be the right course of action.

It has been said that a sense of humour is part of the sixth sense. Laughter is contagious and mutually good medicine.

Think of all the long-term successful people, be they business entrepreneurs, humanitarians, pioneers in medicine, great athletes, entertainers or writers; most of the ones who have made their mark going on to become almost legendary, they all have certain things in common. They are passionately driven, rarely ego-centric and can often laugh at a situation or better still themselves.

I have ensured over the years with my own businesses to surround myself with happy positive-minded people, those who enjoy their role. We are a team and we look to ways we can add value to the company. And equally importantly made our work environment a fun place to be – and definitely never a compulsory to attend end of year party!

Author's Bio: 

Dean Fraser is an entrepreneur, broadcaster, best-selling author, poet, stress consultant and positive lifestyle coach. He has been talking to and advising local authorities, businesses and individuals for over thirty years.

He offers stand-alone talks and seminars on positive living; he is also available on a consultancy basis to visit businesses (and occasionally to individuals). He speaks at health events, educational centres and corporately. Helping us all stay positive regardless and deal with any stress related issues.