Learning Leadership at The Office
Like The Office, NBC's hit faux-reality show? Here are three interesting takes on the sticom's star, Michael Scott (Steve Carell), the hilariously pathetic but well-meaning boss of a regional office, as a leader:
- USA Today reporter Del Jones tracked down some real CEOs to see what they think of Michael. Some leaders said they found the show strangely comforting. "It reassures me that I'm not the most dysfunctional employer on the planet," said the CEO of a New York ad agency. But the head of a luxury home development company in Florida said the show "just wasn't funny." This quote prompted readers to quote Steve Carell talking about his character: "If you don't know a Michael Scott, then you are Michael Scott."
- Kenton Arthur Lee, the blogger at Leadership in Progress writes in a series, "The Dichotomy of Michael Scott," that Michael's weaknesses -- and there are many -- are also his strengths as a leader. While Michael is certainly dumb, he is also genuine. In one episode, for example, Michael is the only person from the office to show up at secretary Pam Beesley's art exhibition, where he displays his dopey humor and lack of sophistication ("My God, these [drawings] could be tracings!") -- a show of support that is surprisingly meaningful for Pam. Writes Lee, "If you want to be a relevant leader, be genuine with your followers. Even if it makes you look dumb or whatever." Lee explores Michael's other two-sided management coins, including including adventure versus professional, annoying versus entertaining and clingy versus dependable.
- Leadership columnist and author John Baldoni, writing in Fast Company, boils down the take-away lessons of Michael Scott's clueless management mistakes: "Start with people; Challenge them; Debrief and Reflect."
So does Michael deserve the "World's Best Boss" coffee mug he has given himself? As many management experts point out, flawed bosses can actually make good teachers -- if you're willing to learn. If that's true, then Michael may be the country's most successful management guru.
Please email us to report offensive comments.
Posted by: outragex | February 17, 2009 1:43 PM
Posted by: financepirate | February 9, 2009 9:15 AM
Posted by: ozpunk | February 7, 2009 2:48 PM
Posted by: mcleangirl | February 6, 2009 3:36 PM
The comments to this entry are closed.