The Office was one of the most successful comedies of our time, and most would agree that the unique characters made the show what it was. Michael Scott, played by Steve Carell, was beloved for his management skills, both good and bad. It was his heart that helped us fall in love with the show, and there are many management lessons we can learn from the World's Best Boss.
10 Invaluable Lessons From Michael Scott on Managing People
Remember that even though sometimes Michael Scott may have made poor choices or actually done a bad job managing his employees, his branch consistently had the highest earnings at Dunder Mifflin. He must have been doing something right, whether or not he and his employees knew it.
Below are a few of the lessons we can learn from him about management, along with a few classic Michael Scott quotes:
- Don't take yourself too seriously.
He made the workplace fun, and he wasn't afraid to embarrass himself. Being strict and not knowing how to let loose was the last thing Michael Scott wanted and the last kind of culture he wanted to create. Remember when he started a dance party in the office? This might not work for all companies when it comes to managing employees, but the success of his team allowed it, and in fact I believe it helped his team in the long run.
Michael Scott quote: Would I rather be feared or loved? Easy. Both. I want people to be afraid of how much they love me.
- Stay passionate about your job.
He loved Dunder Mifflin more than he loved money and anything outside of the office. This passion came through when he managed people. It was clear in the countless hours he spent, and all of the fun that he had, at the office. Such passion is contagious, and employees want to work harder if they know someone cares.
Michael Scott quote: Said without a smirk, "Mo' money, mo' problems."
- Stay active and ambitious in your other passions.
Remember when Michael Scott started writing the book Somehow I Manage? Or wrote his own play about the company? Or took it upon himself to create the Dunder Mifflin commercial for the Scranton branch? He always went above and beyond, and he kept his nonwork passions a big part of his life. In other words, he didn't let his work take over. In the end, all of these side projects actually turned out well, and whether the employees knew it or not, gained him a little bit of respect.
Michael Scott quote: It's never too early for ice cream.
- Keep meetings interesting by adding some variety.
You have to remember that meetings still need to be productive (which is something we didn't always see from Michael Scott), but adding a little variety to your meetings is a great way to keep employees engaged--you can't deny that the staff at Dunder Mifflin listened in awe when they were called into the conference room.
Michael Scott quote: There are many reasons a man would wear a fake mustache to work. He's a fan of the outrageous. He loves to surprise. He loves other things as well.
- Compliment and encourage your employees.
The best example of this was when Pam's art was in a show. She got upset at something a friend of Oscar's said, and Roy was no help, but Michael Scott changed the day. He not only went above and beyond by supporting her outside of work, but he let her know how good he thought she was (and he meant it), and he bought one of her paintings.
This eventually led her to go to art school and follow her dream, which did help the office in the end. Michael Scott also showed he believed in Pam when he personally got her transferred to the sales department. He always wanted the best for her, and I think it's safe to say that Michael Scott and Pam had one of the best working relationships in the office because of it, and his encouragement really helped her succeed.
Michael Scott quote: In one of his most encouraging speeches on the Booze Cruise, Michael Scott says to Jim Halpert, "Never, ever, ever give up."
- Spend a lot of time on company culture.
It was clear that Michael Scott cared about his employees as if they were family (as he so often said). He may not have always acted appropriately or on point, but his intentions were there, and so is such an important lesson. If your employees feel that you value them as employees, they will produce good work. The more your employees feel that they can lean on one another, the better.
Michael Scott quote: The people that you work with are, when you get down to it, your very best friends.
- Set the bar high for your employees and for yourself.
Plain and simple, there was nothing that Michael Scott thought his team couldn't accomplish. He believed in them, and he didn't let them fall behind when it came to anything work-related.
Michael Scott quote: The only time I set the bar low is for limbo.
- Stay confident in everything you do.
On that same note, there wasn't anything that Michael Scott thought he couldn't do. He had a few moments of nervousness, but by and large he remained confident in himself. This confidence helped him create his own paper supply company, only to make a large profit when it was bought out by Dunder Mifflin. This confidence helped his team remain confident and helped him deliver quite a few uplifting speeches.
Michael Scott quote: Business is a doggie dog world. And I am a shark, who eats doggie dogs.
- Fake it till you make it.
Let's face it, there are going to be plenty of times when you have a problem with one or more of your employees and you aren't sure what to do. Whether that be having to fire someone, say no to holiday bonuses, or make a change to the health care plan, you may not know how to choose the right course of action. Michael Scott was the king of acting as if he knew what he was doing when he didn't, which brings us back to the confidence point. As a manager, this will get you far.
Michael Scott quote: And I knew exactly what to do. But in a much more real sense, I had no idea what to do.
10. Sometimes you don't get the recognition until the end.
Remember that as a manager, everything you do is for the good of your employees and the company. During the Michael Scott era at Dunder Mifflin, it's safe to say, he wasn't always appreciated by his employees, and he was questioned often. When it was finally time for him to leave, it was clear how much his employees respected him.
Quote from Jim Halpert: You know what I think we should do? I think we should just save the goodbyes for tomorrow at lunch. And then tomorrow, I can tell you what a great boss you turned out to be. Best boss I ever had.