What Michael Scott Taught Us About Leadership

If you are familiar with the sitcom “The Office,” you know all about Michael Scott. If not, I highly recommend blocking off a couple of days for a binge-watching session on Netflix.

Michael Scott often displayed selfish motives and was much more concerned with being a supportive and likable friend than a directive leader. However, he did possess several leadership characteristics that served him well. These qualities allowed him to operate one of the most successful branches within the company while also maintaining close (sometimes too close) relationships with his team. Here are five of the characteristics that made Michael Scott successful:

  1. Love Your Job – No one had more pride in their job than Michael Scott did as the Regional Manager of the Scranton branch at Dunder Mifflin. However, times aren’t always going to be great, and leaders will face several challenges. These are opportunities to lead your team through the hardship. As a leader, it’s important to stay positive and confident. If you want to disengage your employees, show a lack of interest in your work or organization.
  2. Show Appreciation – Michael understood that his employees wanted to be recognized for their hard work. That is why he invented Dundies, an annual awards banquet, celebrating the achievements of his employees throughout the year. Though everybody dreads going to the Dundies, Michael put a considerable amount of effort to make sure that everyone gets an award. Recognizing employee performance increases engagement. It doesn’t have to be an awards banquet, but a simple thank you and acknowledgment of a job well done will go a long way.
  3. Use Past Experience – Michael may be a little unorthodox with his leadership style, but he did somehow become a manager. Michael came up the ranks at Dunder Mifflin and landed the manager job after excelling in the sales department. Anytime a leader can guide an employee and provide them with personal and relatable experiences, they are more likely to get a positive response.
  4. Value Your Employees Opinions – Michael Scott loved meetings. On nearly every episode of the show, Michael would call a staff meeting. In holding these meetings, though almost nothing ever got accomplished, Michael was proving to his co-workers that he valued their opinions and wanted their input. These meetings offered an opportunity for the Dunder Mifflin staff to discuss strategy and have their voices heard.
  5. Develop Your People – Michael Scott doesn’t scream great leader but let’s look at the facts. The Scranton Branch of Dunder Mifflin was repeatedly the best performing branch, and he was able to mentor many of his employees to grow their careers. For example, when Jan Levingston Gould was being replaced at corporate, it was Michael’s former intern/sales employee Ryan Howard who got the job. Jim was approached to take on a co-manager role due to the skill set he brought to the table. Dwight was the top salesman in the company and ultimately became the Regional Manager of the Scranton Branch. Great leaders have the ability to develop talent just like Michael did.

“Do I want to be feared or loved? Easy – both. I want people to be afraid of how much they love me.” – Michael Scott

Copyright © 2019 Central Mutual Insurance Company. All rights reserved.

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