Randstad Canada HR Blog

4-Management Lessons from Movies You Must Learn: Edition 1

Posted by James Rubec on Fri, Jan 17, 2014 @ 02:02 PM

4-Management Lessons from Movies You Must Learn: Edition 1

These tips will help your company thrive; they will improve your brand and help you keep your people happy. In the first edition of Management Lessons from Movies, we explore The Wolf on Wall Street and Office Space.

If you don't need tips on management, check out our tips on interviewing.

The Wolf on Wall StreetWWST (1)

While it has been nominated for several Oscar awards, I wouldn’t be nominating the corporation at the centre Scorsese’s Wolf on Wall Street for the Randstad Award on for employer branding, anytime soon.

Yet despite the fact Stratton Oakmont, the felonious investment firm brought down in the real world in the 1990s used a party atmosphere, crooked books and devious sales methods to get ahead, there are still lessons to be learned, other than how to properly use a 156-foot pleasure craft.

1. If your team is behind you, anything is possible

The film’s protagonist, Jordan Belfort motivates those around him by leading by example. He’s able to achieve all he does with the help of his team. It is their belief and buy-in, that gives him power.

It isn’t enough for you to have a good idea, or a vision, you need the people behind you to act on both. Cracking a whip and decrying the glory of your plan will only drive people away from you. Prove your ideas to your team get their buy-in and move forward with them. You can’t drag a team of 20 through the door; they have to walk through on their own.

2. Communication matters

Jordan ’s team was located in one large office space, where he could see and be heard by his entire team all at once. That made it possible for him to announce a policy change, or share a new technique with his team immediately. Direct person to person communication is a powerful tool.

Today, we have more tools available to us to make that possible, but if you have multiple teams in multiple offices how can you be sure that your message is being heard, and more importantly being listened to?

Think about your communication plan, how do you track your teams' adoption of process shifts, how do you know they’ve read your memo, short of a megaphone or a handshake?

It might not be enough to say something once, it can take an entire communication's plan to make your word law. If your change is a matter of tone, it can take entire shifts in corporate culture to make the change - so set your tone and stick to it.

Office SpaceOfficeSpace

Whether it is from TPS reports, micromanagement, obscure hierarchies or general workplace malaise, Office Space, the Mike Judge (of Beavis and Butthead fame) creation is a film that epitomizes poor office management.

3. Disengaged, unmotivated, un-empowered employees can be destructive

The characters in Office Space are disengaged to the point of subterfuge and sabotage, something that happens more often than you’d think.

If your team is afraid of losing their jobs, as one of the film’s main characters, played by Ron Livingston says “But you know Bob, that will only make someone work just hard enough not to get fired."

Instead of burdening employees with 10-layers of management, see what they can do on their own. If they can’t maintain the minimums of their employment agreements, why are they on your team?

4. Speak to your employees about their goals and motivations honestly

The character Livingston plays, Peter, is unmotivated and it takes a transcendental experience to snap him into making changes in his workplace. This increased confidence provides him the opportunity for promotion. Sometimes employees need a change in their work dynamic to spurn novel ideas and their latent engagement. Speak to your team about what they want out of life, work and their careers. If you know what motivates them, help them achieve those things and they’ll be willing to work hard for you.

If you haven’t seen Office Space, let’s just say Peter and his team had burning desires.

Did you like this post, check out our piece, 9 Films Featuring Strong Empowered Women.

What are some of your favourite office movies? Tell us about them on Twitter @RandstadCanada