7 reasons why Michael Scott is the ‘World’s Best Boss’

25 March 2015 by in Authentic leadership, Business and finance, Entertainment

Michael ScottWe love The Office (US edition) in our very own office and, as publishers of business books, it’s got us thinking about reasons that Michael Scott (played by Steve Carell) is an excellent leader. Hold on, we know what you’re thinking, was he really any good at his job? He bought himself the mug that read, ‘World’s Best Boss’ and were those silly and painfully awkward seminars actually useful? Well, we’ve rewatched the series (don’t let anyone tell you that publishing’s an easy business!) and come up with seven reasons why Michael Scott is an excellent boss. Why seven? we hear you ask. Well, Bas Blekkingh’s new book, Authentic leadership is based on a seven-layer model to help readers be the best leaders they can be. Perhaps you’ll be inspired by Scott after all …

  1. Michael says early on in the series that,‘it’s about keeping the troops happy’, encouraging your workforce to get along, making the workplace an enjoyable place to be. It’s surprising that there is any work done in the office at all as Michael is keen to encourage as much team building as possible. The beach trip, in season 3 after the two branches have merged, is an excellent opportunity to encourage friendly competition between the employees. This comes into use in season 5 when the Scranton branch goes head-to-head with the rest of the Dunder Mifflin company in a volleyball tournament. Michael’s insistence that the office has parties on a regular basis allows the formation of the party-planning committee and ensures that morale is kept on a high and that the employees have something to look forward to after a long week of sales.
  2. Michael considers himself as not just a boss but a friend to all those who work in the office. After Jim leaves Scranton to move to a different branch, he meets Michael and Dwight at a paper convention. Though nobody shows up to Michael’s party in his hotel room, Michael states that after Jim left his Scranton employment, he had ‘gained a friend’. Michael also invented the Dundies, an annual awards ceremony, celebrating the achievements of the office throughout the year. Though everybody dreads going to them, Michael makes a huge effort to make sure that everyone gets an award and that the show is a success.
  3. He’s there for his employees. In season 3, Pam gets the chance to show off her art in a local gallery. No one from the office shows up apart from her boyfriend, Roy, and he is incredibly scathing about her efforts. At the eleventh hour, however, Michael makes an appearance and is genuinely impressed by her work. He offers to buy the painting she did of their office building, which hangs on the wall next to her desk until the final episode. By making an effort to support his employees, Michael becomes a great boss and made Pam feel amazing.
  4. Michael is determined to make the office a place of enlightenment so that his employees get more from their work days than just a paycheque. Though his seminars are unconventional to say the least, Michael does at least attempt to bring a wider understanding to those in the office. Some of the most memorable seminars in the conference room are the ones on equality, where Michael kisses a reluctant Oscar, race and disability. We are not in any doubt that the seminars could have benefited from better planning, but they were an attempt to bring the office together.
  5. Michael Scott might not be the greatest leader in television history but he clearly did something right to get the job as regional manager. Michael was obviously an excellent sales person and had a good feel for business. This is demonstrated when he leaves Dunder Mifflin and starts his own company, Michael Scott’s Paper Company. Though ultimately unsuccessful (perhaps due to having employed Ryan) it showed Michael’s determination to succeed in a tough business environment. Ultimately, his new company was sold to Dunder Mifflin and he got his old job back. Not bad for a renegade employee.
  6. A day in Michael’s office is never boring. Whether it be a funeral for a bird that Toby allegedly killed or Michael threatening to jump off a building to educate the workers about the dangers of depression, Michael ensured that his employees never got bored doing what they did. Remember when he took them down to the warehouse for a foam fight? Yes, most of these things were unproductive, but definitely got the employees talking and communicating together.
  7. Determined not to lay anybody off. Despite his apparent incompetence, Michael’s company actually manages to make a profit during the first few series when the merger between branches is discussed. Not only that, but Michael really cares about his employees and makes sure that he doesn’t have to fire anyone, even Creed who seems to do no work whatsoever.

We think Michael Scott is an authentic leader and we hope this blog has inspired you to be one too.

Authentic Leadership