Although “The Office” Television Series ended several years ago, there are still some relevant business lessons that can be applied today.
Such as, could Michael Scott have been a management genius?
One could argue that the “Dunder-Mifflin” Scranton Branch offered us a glimpse of how a wide array of personalities could blend together to deliver outstanding results.
They appeared to be quite a dysfunctional cast of characters to the untrained eye, but seemed to find a way to survive corporate closures, management changes and team building activities gone array.
On the contrary, too much of anything is also not a good thing, especially when it translates to Team Dynamics.
Can you really have too many happy people or too many perfectionists?
Too many “A” Personalities might turn your office into a “Hostile Environment”.
On the reverse side, too many “B” Personalities may lead to “No Sense of Urgency”.
In the end, there aren’t many instances, where you get to build a team from the ground-up, so you will probably have little control on balancing personality mix.
So how do you deal with the cards you have been dealt?
10 Keys to Balancing Team Dynamics
As applied by Michael Scott
1. Get to Know your Team
Michael Scott stated “The people that you work with are, when you get down to it, your very best friends.” All Good Leadership is based on relationships. Everyone doesn’t respond to the same kind of leadership. As a leader, you have to figure out what buttons push each individual on your team.
2. Leverage Strengths
“Ryan is about to attend the Michael Scott School of Business. I’m like Mr. Miyagi and Yoda all rolled into one.” Michael took responsibility for identifying Ryan’s strengths and the skillsets that he would need to be successful. As a leader, it is your job to make sure people acquire what they need to reach their potential.
3. Compliment and Reward
Michael often publicly praised and rewarded his team with food, prizes and offsite activities. As a leader, you should take care of your people and show they are appreciated through public praise, financial support and rewards with perks and promotions where appropriate.
4. Simplify and Over Communicate
Michael had frequent meetings, office huddles, and proactive sharing of information to keep all informed. He told people what was happening at corporate, participated in all training sessions, and made it a point to engage with every member of the team on a regular basis. As a leader, open communication and constructive dialogue is vital to ensuring your team reaches their goals.
5. Manage Conflict
Michael knew the importance of acting swiftly to address an issue “Win/win is number four and number five is win/win/win. The important difference here is with win/win/win, we all win. Me too. I win for having successfully mediated a conflict at work.” As a leader, you need to make decisions swiftly and attack issues before they affect the morale of your team.
6. Infuse Passion
Michael loved Dunder Mifflin more than he loved money and anything outside of the office. This passion came through in the way he managed his team and was clear in all of the fun he had at the office. As a leader, you can energize your team and elevate their performance through displaying your passion.
7. Model the Behavior
Michael was not afraid to be himself. He built credibility and trust with his team by not pretending to be something he wasn’t, while drawing out their best. As a leader, you can portray the behavior and attitude you want to see in your team. Know the values your team should embrace, live the values and communicate the values.
8. Build a Strong Corporate Culture
Michael shared his thoughts with his team on winning and the business culture he wanted to create; “You need to play to win. But… you also need to win… to play.” As a leader, you can shape your team culture, by placing a high value on your people.
9. Set High Expectations
Michael on setting team goals; “The only time I set the bar low is for limbo.” As a leader, don’t be afraid to challenge your team. This will fire up the good people and offer them the opportunity to spread their wings, while also unveiling where commitment may lack.
10. Celebrate Wins
Michael looked for every opportunity to celebrate, even the small wins; “It’s never too early for ice cream.” As a leader, you can energize your people and increase their capacity to succeed by fueling a satisfaction for getting things done.
In the end, there may still be a need to re-shuffle the deck to gain a better balance to provide optimal team dynamics.
There are many alternative approaches to managing personalities within your team and organization, but when it comes down to it, you may just need to take some simple advice from Michael Scott….
“Would I rather be feared or loved? Easy, both. I want people to be afraid of how much they love me.”
As a leader, you must find the optimal balance between being liked and being respected.
Being a scary boss is just as bad as being a lovable boss with no backbone.
However, a little bit of both can make a great leader!
WARNING: All of Michael Scott’s management techniques do not garner the same success! Some actually could be very detrimental to your career; so please use sensibly!
*Director of Customer Development, Walmart & Sam’s Club – Mizkan America
*Title and company of the author reflect their position at the time article was written.
The opinions expressed here by guest bloggers are their own, not necessarily those of Stout Executive Search.