The first season of The Office series premiered in the spring of 2005 and consisted of only 6 episodes that tried to replicate the British version of the show. By the end of the second season its creators finally found an unique voice with which American viewers could empathise with. The genius of the show translates into the simplicity of the plot: day-to-day activities at work. Moreso, the show portrayed an unprecedented ironic view of the Corporate America with all its flaws and benefits.
The main character, Michael Scott, became one of the most loved figures not only in the United States, but around the Globe. There is no one like him. What makes him a character to remember his genuine, funny and sometimes stupid approach towards life and work. The creators managed to do something extraordinary by showing the ambivalence of the character: there were times when Michael Scott was ignorant, stupid, rude, but somehow you can’t get enough of him because you realise that at heart, he is a good guy, with good intentions driven by his need of love and acceptance from others.
Even though he is actually the worst boss someone could have, at a closer look, there are many things Michael Scott taught us about management:
1. Keep meetings interesting
Meetings at Dunder Mifflin were not always productive but what managers should learn from Michael Scott is that they need to keep them interesting. Adding a little variety to the meetings keeps participants engaged.
Eg: Remember the episodes when Michael hangs up pictures of famous people, draws out the pyramid scheme, or plays a video of his participation in a game show as a child?
These small tricks helps the team to become more engaged with the subject and invites them to interact with the one who’s holding the meeting.
2. Compliment and encourage your team
In times of need, Michael always encouraged his team members, regardless of their work quality. Whether it was Christmas, some random party or just a simple day at the office, he tried to make his team proud of their work.
As a manager, you should embrace that and try to encourage and compliment your people everytime they accomplish something. Moreso, having a leader that takes care of the team’s morale will translate into a boost of confidence that will lead to a productivity increase.
Eg: Pam’s art show when Michael was the only one that was present. Even though her work wasn’t necessarily “art”, Michael was very impressed and encouraged her to move forward. He even bought one of her paintings of the Dunder Mifflin’s building. This confidence that Michael sent her eventually led her to go to art school and follow her dream.
3. Fake it till you make it
There are many times when a problem occurs and you have no idea what to do. Michael Scott was the king of acting like he knew what he was doing when in fact he had no clue and most of the times he somehow managed to have the best results out of it.
Eg: Remember when he had to choose a health care plan for his team? He had no idea what was the best solution because he knew that whatever he chose some of the people will be disappointed. His plan? Assign the task to his loyal employee, Dwight who cut nearly all benefits, angering the rest of the staff.
Even when Michael was confronted by the entire team, he stood his ground, looking like he was in control of the situation. Even though, lying to your team is not the best choice, Michael sets himself an example to be followed by other managers.
There are always going to be problems and contexts in which you will have no idea what to do. If you want a team that trusts you be confident because it will send a signal of safety and security.
4. Find innovative ways to motivate your employees
Sometimes money isn’t everything and people need to be motivated by other things. Get creative and think of small rewards and fun games that will motivate your team to be more productive at work.
Eg: The Dundies. Every year Michael Scott organized a party honoring the work of his team. He would give small personalized statues to show that he appreciates his team more than anything. This was a fun opportunity where the Dunder Mifflin’s team could enjoy each other and bond with one another.
Taking a fresh approach towards motivational incentives makes your team less tense. It creates a fun, relaxed environment where they can have a good time. On top of that, they will appreciate more a manager who looks and IS interested in their morale and mood.
5. Make time for fun
The words work and fun don’t have to antonymous. There are times when a little fun is vital to the work environment and the wellbeing of your team. Studies show that people who have fun at the office are happier and more productive.
Eg: All those unnecessary gatherings that Angela had to organize. From boardgames day when they found out the their branch could be closed to those Movie Mondays when they watched TV. Even though this isn’t very good advice, you should remember that your people could take a break once in awhile.
All work and no play makes your team a dull…team 🙂 so why not take a leap of faith and have some fun activities where your team can have a good time. Whether you are thinking about a social gathering or a fun workshop, there are all good ideas as long as your people can bond and have a laugh or two.
Even though Dwight is one of the weirdest characters out there and even though his approaches toward certain things were very questionable, there is one thing managers (and not only) need to learn from him: Loyalty
No matter the obstacles or the context, Dwight remained loyal to Michael and to Dunder Mifflin (except that time when he went to his dentist, Crentist). If you haven’t seen the scene, you my friend, have lived for nothing.
In a world that is always changing, people are not immune to that and at the end of the day loyalty is a quality to be valued the most. Being loyal to your company and to your teams means that you believe in them and that, my friend, gives everybody a reason to trust you and to strive for more.
So, these were 5 things managers should learn from Michael Scott and one valuable thing from Dwight. What do you think? Are there any more skills you learned from The Office?
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