Leadership Lessons from Michael Scott: Innovation

Leaders foster an environment of innovation.  Enjoy the following clip from the Office (one of my favorites, this one is hilarious).  Scroll down for three tips for fostering an innovative environment.

Three Keys for Fostering an Innovating Environment

  1. Be a collector of ideas. Recognize that 9 out of 10 ideas are bad, therefore insist on a constant flow of ideas that will keep your organizations fresh and on the cutting edge.
  2. Understand that all of us are smarter than one of us.  Don’t be the only source of new ideas in your organization, encourage others input and suggestions.  Use team meetings periodically to do brainstorming and allow out of the box thinking to take place freely.
  3. Don’t be Overly critical of others ideas.  Sometimes innovation is shut down in a organization because the leader tends to say “no” instead of “let’s talk about this”.  Work with people to shape their ideas instead of just shutting down their ideas.  

What did you learn from Michael Scott’s example?

Leadership Lessons from Michael Scott: End Well

It’s not likely that you will hold your current leadership position forever.  The question is not, Will I leave?  The question is, How well will I leave?  Leadership Lesson from Michael Scott:  Work as if you will not be in your role forever.

What do I have to do to leave well?

  1. Don’t have a possessive attitude about your role.  QUESTION:  Am I continually training others in or giving away my responsiblities?
  2. Always be looking for future talent.  QUESTION:  Who is my potential successor?
  3. Document your roles and responsiblities  QUESTION:  Do I have a written job description?
  4. Know what it will take to end well.  QUESTION:  What are 3-4 marks I want to leave on my current organization?

Leadership Lessons from Michael Scott

Michael Scott Leadership Lesson: Regular recognition and praise inspires team members to give their best effort. Michael recognizes the value of praising his employees (even though he doesn’t always do it the right way.)

The following guidelines can help leaders become more effective in offering genuine, appropriate praise:

  1. Be Consistent.  Don’t just distribute praise once a year during a performance review.  Make a habit of catching people doing things right.
  2. Be Authentic.  Express genuine appreciation for what they have done, who they are and their contribution to the team. 
  3. Be Specific.  Instead of just saying “you did a good job”.  Be specific about what they did well.  People are more likely to repeat a behavior when we make our praise specific.
  4. Be Open.  Let others in the organization know the individuals on your team are doing a great job.  Praise them publicly in front of their peers.  This will have a bigger impact than praising them in private.

Praise is an effective way to increase employee engagement and promote a positive work environment. It only takes seconds to deliver, yet has an long lasting effect.

  • What are the strengths of the individuals on your team?
  • In what ways can you encourage those strengths?
  • What are you doing to publically affirm their strengths?
  • What are you doing to develop those strengths?