Michael Gary Scott is the flamboyant manager in the fictional universe of NBC’s The Office. Played by Steve Carrell, Michael Scott is the regional manager of the Scranton branch of a paper company. Although this curriculum vitae may sound unprepossessing, there are a few managerial lessons we can learn from observing this character.
Business 101 from Michael Scott
Firstly, as a manager Michael Scott is seen in a negative light by his employees; particularly, Michael is quietly ridiculed for scapegoating employees, prioritizing inessential “fun” activities and slacking off at work. These are essentially the worst constellation of traits a manager can possess.
That is, according to the Management Advisory Service, the best managers have the following qualities: hardworking, productive, effective and engaging. There are even management analysts, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, whose sole job is to improve the efficiency in an organization.
Former President Herbert Hoover said this about leaders: “In the great mass of people there are plenty of individuals of intelligence from among whom leadership can be recruited.” This quote touches on intangible qualities of leaders everywhere – charisma. Managers should inspire employees to achieve unprecedented results without resorting to coercion or psychological distress.
Codes of Conduct for Management Practice
The MAS Codes of Conduct for Management Practice encourage creating business environments in which employees can flourish and rise to challenges. Ideally, the employee is both fully engaged with the company and motivated to contribute beyond expectations. All the while, in a perfect world the employee would glean a personal and professional satisfaction while making a lasting contribution to the company.
Managers foster this kind of relaxed yet productive environment through engaging in trusting and open relationships. A top-notch manager finds a balance between coaching employees who are struggling to understand or carry out their duties while delegating whenever appropriate. Good managers bring conflicts to an amenable conclusion, garnish employees with helpful feedback and recognize the contributions of all employees, perhaps in a formal employee awards ceremony.
Google’s Criteria for Good and Bad Managers
One of the tasks Michael Scott cannot seem to master is report writing. A skilled manager would negotiate report writing in a professional and timely manner while showing good time management and communication towards everyone whom s/he interacts with. In fact, when surveyed Google corporation rated the following qualities as paramount for successful managers: empowers the whole team without micromanaging; aids in career development; productive and results-oriented; technically-skilled in ways relevant to the company; and, finally, holds a clear vision for the team and makes all team members feel appreciated.
Long-time viewers of NBC’s The Office will instantly realize that Michael Scott embodies almost none of these characteristics of a good manager. Michael Scott is demeaning to his employees and, perhaps worse, scapegoats his employees to superiors when that proves strategically expedient. Having said that, Google actually identified three tell-tale qualities of managers struggling to understand their role: unworkable transition into a managerial role; spends an inordinately small amount of time on management and communication; and, thirdly, lacks a consistent career and performance-development strategy.
Being a Good Manager Versus a Great One
The consensus for good managers tends to invariably include a clear and relevant communications style and a hardworking, results-oriented business orientation. That said, according to Business Insider, hiring the right employees can diminish turnover in the long run.
One important thing to remember is that managers come in all shapes and sizes, according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. There are managers operating in human resources and administrative services with the same underlying goals.
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