#HRSocialHour: Fictional Leaders, what can we learn?

We had another fun #HRSocialHour Sunday evening. I wanted to review each leader brought up & what we feel we can learn from them:

Anne & Gemma both brought up one of my favorite #BadBosses: CM Burns, Simpsons.

Michelle brought the Corleone family, The Godfather. At least the Corleone family didn’t get wishy-washy about terminating someone, though the termination was a little more, um, permanent? But no paperwork and no severance package would be necessary, so you got that going for you as their HR professional.


Jazmine brought up another favorite: Mike & Jan from the Office (US). Though I have often wondered is Mike a bad boss or simply someone promoted to his level of incompetence? I have to guess that the training for Mike moving into the manager/boss position was non-existence. Even so, the two of them together was simply exhausting and I totally get why Toby looked so worn out all. the. time. The union busting episode (really called “Boys & Girls”) is a classic example of what happens when leaders try to discuss HR topics they know nothing about.

Greg & Chris bring, of course, Star Wars & Darth Vader, which has similar issues to the Corleone family – not satisfied with someone’s performance? Don’t bug HR, just choke hold them until they die. And apparently, someone else cleans up the body as we never see Darth Vader with a shovel.

Jon brought up Cobra Commander. Now I have to admit, I don’t know much about him (my limited knowledge is from Saturday morning cartoons and I never watched GI Joe unless I was babysitting). So Cobra Commander’s biggest HR issue is his continued desire to take over the world and isn’t really a good team builder – which makes sense. As I remember from the cartoons, most of Cobra Commander’s employees were likely expendable. To improve the working conditions, if Jon were Cobra Commander’s HR person, he’d work on team building & coaching the commander to seek input. Tough to do when GI Joe is always thwarting your plans & you have to think on your feet 🙂

I brought in Miranda Priestly. Love Meryl Streep & I really love what she did with this character – the soft, commanding voice that of course you listened to. I think the most difficult HR issue with Miranda would be the turnover. You couldn’t blame Miranda for someone leaving or getting fired, and you’d probably have to come up with the “business related reason” someone was being terminated.

I also have 2 new shows to watch:

Blossm submitted Frank Underwood, House of Cards, confirming that I definitely need to start this series. HR issues abound around employee morale, ethics, and public perception.

And Claire said Jeff from “Keeping up with the Joneses” which is totally going in the Netflex cue! Looks like Jeff (played by Zach Galifianakis) means well and believes in his employees, which is good, but doesn’t do a great job of reading people.

Many of the #badbosses on this list have one thing in common: the ability to make a decision. We’ve all worked for that person who simply cannot make a decision!

We had some good lessons learned, but most important lesson:

Don’t take HR lessons from TV & Movies!

See the full conversation on Storify

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