I am a huge fan of the US version of The Office. Not the first series, but from season 2 onwards, it’s one of the best comedies ever produced (in my opinion). I was watching an episode the other day and it suddenly ‘dawned’ on me that the Scranton branch of Dunder Mifflin has an incredible level of employee engagement.
There is a running joke throughout the series about how the Scranton branch is the most successful in the whole company, but it is never explained how they achieve this. Well, it’s due to the level of engagement that Michael Scott has with the employees of his branch.
Appreciation and acknowledgement
In one episode, “Survivor Man”, it is explained that Michael celebrates each and every employees birthday by personally surprising them and presenting them with a full-size cake (in a fully decorated room with the rest of the workers from the branch). How many people can say that their boss shows the same level of dedication or appreciation for his/her employees?!
Michael spends most of his time during the working day thinking of ways to entertain or impress his staff. Now, although this is obviously not something that a responsible manager should be doing with their time, you can appreciate that putting some effort into connecting with your subordinates can only improve relations within the office environment.
Each and every episode includes a scene where Michael has called his staff into the conference room for a meeting regarding a non-work related matter. Although not recommended, Michael is making sure that everyone is involved and invites suggestions (which are typically ludicrous) that involve the whole team.
Listening to your employees and letting them know that you DO listen is very important for engagement. A workforce that feels they can make suggestions and talk through issues will be more open to discussing such matters with management.
Michael also allows practical jokes to take place between two of the main characters, Dwight and Jim. These include desks being moved to the men’s toilets, creating a replica office made of boxes and placing personal possessions in the office vending machine. Although some of these extreme jokes are not acceptable for most real office environments, as a manager (like Michael Scott) you should allow an acceptable level of banter and fun in the office; in turn, your employees will be happier at work. Happy employees are more productive, take less sick leave and are less likely to seek alternative employment.
So, there are some very positive lessons that can be learned form the management methods of Mr Michael Scott, well done Michael 🙂