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How to Lead Like Leslie Knope From “Parks & Rec”

How to Lead Like Leslie Knope From “Parks & Rec”

Parks and Recreation may have ended, but the legend of Leslie Knope still lives on. Throughout the seven seasons of NBC’s Parks & Rec, viewers got to know and love the Deputy Director of the Parks and Recreation Department, Leslie Knope. Played by Amy Poehler, Knope is perhaps the most over-eager and determined character to ever grace the television screen. It’s because of this tenacity and dedication that Leslie Knope is such an amazing leader. She may be a fictional character, but she is certainly a model to look up to and aspire to.

Here are five things you can do to be a great boss and lead like Leslie Knope.

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1. Do work worth doing.

In a town as apathetic and thankless as Pawnee, Indiana, Leslie could have given up many times, but she does work worth doing. Her work is a constant source of inspiration to her, her team, and the people around her. Leslie dedicates her energies to the places where she can have the greatest impact and do the most good.

2. Be passionate about progress.

Despite a seemingly never-ending stream of ethical roadblocks along the way, Leslie never loses sight of her goals and the needs of the causes she is championing. She does things because they’re the right thing to do, not because they’re popular or easy. This is an important leadership lesson in itself. As a leader, you have to make hard choices – and people won’t necessarily like them – but if you’re passionate about progress and if your choices come from an honest place, then you’ll steer your business and your team in the right direction.

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3. Think of the big picture.

If you’ve ever watched an episode of Parks and Rec, you’re well aware of the centuries-old feud between the fictional towns of Pawnee and Eagleton. Despite this deep-seated hatred, Leslie is willing to help the town of Eagleton during its time of need. She puts differences aside, reaches out, and lifts up her neighbors. Leslie acts for the common good, she thinks of the big picture and how to benefit the most people.

As a leader, it’s vital to employ this big picture thinking. Furthermore, it’s important for leaders to be charitable and to be active leaders in the community. Lead by example. Show the importance of giving where you’re able to give and helping your community. Under the direction of their generous leaders, the most successful and well-respected companies participate in community outreach programs and volunteer on a regular basis.

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4. But always pay attention to the little things.

Her acute attention to detail makes Leslie the ultimate public servant and an attentive leader who truly connects with her team. Leslie is hyper-organized and detail oriented, as evidenced by her lengthy reports in thick color-coded binders on just about everything. She also a habit of giving the perfect gift for each of her fictional holidays. By paying attention to the little things, she gets to know her staff on a personal level and is able to hone in on how to motivate each of them individually. Leslie’s knack for thoroughness means she prepares lengthy reports that make a difference in the community and get noticed by the higher-ups in Washington. By paying attention to the little things, Leslie is able to be a better leader and an amazing colleague.

5. Care.

As viewers see in the show, Leslie takes on various roles. She moves on to new jobs and pursues new adventures. She knows when to move on and how to best dedicate her boundless stream of energy. No matter what hat she wears or what project she’s working on, Leslie is consistent in her efforts and in her caring. She cares about everything she does. This notion is reflected in the quality of her work. The best leaders care about every paper that crosses their desks, every phone call they make, and every person that sits in their building.

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In Leslie Knope’s words, “No one achieves anything alone.” Your team will be a reflection of your leadership. Dare to care. Dare to be a Leslie Knope.

Conclusion

Do you want to know more about how you can be the best possible leader? Complete a quick and easy leadership assessment, courtesy of Orlando businessman Joel Goldstein, President of Mr. Checkout Distributors. It only takes three minutes to find out your leadership strengths!

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Last Updated on July 16, 2019

6 Effective Ways to Enhance Your Problem Solving Skills

6 Effective Ways to Enhance Your Problem Solving Skills

Have you ever thought of yourself as a problem solver? I’m guessing not. But in reality, we are constantly solving problems. And the better our problem solving skills are, the easier our lives are.

Problems arise in many shapes and forms. They can be mundane, everyday problems, or larger more complex problems:

What to have for dinner tonight?

Which route to take to work?

How to fix a project that’s running behind schedule?

How to change from an uninspiring job to a career you’re really passionate about?

Every day, you’ll be faced with at least one problem to solve. But it gets easier when you realize that problems are simply choices. There’s nothing ‘scary’ about them other than having to make a decision.

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No matter what job you’re in, where you live, who your partner is, how many friends you have, you will be judged on your ability to solve problems. Because problems equal hassles for everyone concerned. And people don’t like hassle. So the more problems you can solve, the less hassle all-round, the happier people are with you. Everyone wins.

Why Are Problem Solving Skills Important?

Problem is something hard to understand or accomplish or deal with. It can be a task, a situation, or even a person. Problem solving involves methods and skills to find the best solutions to problems.

Problem solving is important because we all have decisions to make, and questions to answer in our lives. Amazing people like Eleanor Roosevelt, Steve Jobs, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., are all great problems solvers. Good parents, teachers, doctors and waiters all have to be good at solving different sort of problems as well.

Problem solving skills are for our everyday lives.

How to Enhance Problem Solving Skills

Most people believe that you have to be very intelligent in order to be a good problem solver, but that’s not true.

You don’t have to be super smart to be a problem solver, you just need practice.

When you understand the different steps to solve a problem, you’ll be able to come up with great solutions.

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1. Focus on the Solution, Not the Problem

Neuroscientists have proven that your brain cannot find solutions if you focus on the problem.[1] This is because when you focus on the problem, you’re effectively feeding ‘negativity,’ which in turn activates negative emotions in the brain. These emotions block potential solutions.

I’m not saying you should ‘ignore the problem,’ instead, try to remain calm. It helps to first, acknowledge the problem; and then, move your focus to a solution-oriented mindset where you keep fixed on what the ‘answer’ could be, rather than lingering on ‘what went wrong’ and ‘who’s fault it is’.

2. Adapt 5 Whys to Clearly Define the Problem

5 Whys is a problem solving framework to help you get to the root of a problem.

By repeatedly asking the question “why” on a problem, you can dig into the root cause of a problem, and that’s how you can find the best solution to tackle the root problem once and for all. And it can go deeper than just asking why for five times.

For example:

If the problem is “always late to work”…

  • Why am I late to work?
    I always click the snooze button and just want to go on sleeping.
  • Why do I want to go on sleeping?
    I feel so tired in the morning.
  • Why do I feel tired in the morning?
    I slept late the night before, that’s why.
  • Why did I sleep late?
    I wasn’t sleepy after drinking coffee, and I just kept scrolling my Facebook feed and somehow I couldn’t stop.
  • Why did I drink coffee?
    Because I was too sleepy at work in the afternoon, not having enough sleep the night before.

So there you see, if you didn’t try to dig out the root of the problem, you may just set a few more alarms and have it beep every five minutes in the morning. But in fact, the problem you need to solve is to quit Facebook surfing endlessly at night so you’ll feel more energetic in the day time, and you won’t even need coffee.

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3. Simplify Things

As human beings, we have a tendency to make things more complicated than they need to be! Try simplifying your problem by generalizing it.

Remove all the details and go back to the basics. Try looking for a really easy, obvious solution – you might be surprised at the results! And we all know that it’s often the simple things that are the most productive.

4. List out as Many Solutions as Possible

Try to come up with ‘ALL POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS’ – even if they seem ridiculous at first. It’s important you keep an open mind to boost creative thinking, which can trigger potential solutions.

Coming from 10 years in the corporate advertising industry, it is drummed into you that ‘No idea is a bad idea’ and this aids creative thinking in brainstorms and other problem-solving techniques.

Whatever you do, do not ridicule yourself for coming up with ‘stupid solutions’ as it’s often the crazy ideas that trigger other more viable solutions.

5. Think Laterally

Change the ‘direction’ of your thoughts by thinking laterally. Pay attention to the saying,

‘You cannot dig a hole in a different place by digging it deeper.”

Try to change your approach and look at things in a new way. You can try flipping your objective around and looking for a solution that is the polar opposite!

Even if it feels silly, a fresh and unique approach usually stimulates a fresh solution.

6. Use Language That Creates Possibility

Lead your thinking with phrases like ‘what if…’ and ‘imagine if…’ These terms open up our brains to think creatively and encourage solutions.

Avoid closed, negative language such as ‘I don’t think…’ or ‘But this is not right…’.

The Bottom Line

There’s nothing scary about a problem when you start to adapt my advice.

Try not to view problems as ‘scary’ things! If you think about what a problem really is, it’s really just feedback on your current situation.

Every problem is telling you that something is not currently working and that you need to find a new way around it.

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So try to approach problems neutrally – without any judgment. Practice focusing on defining a problem, keep calm and not to make things too complicated.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Planet of Success: Problem vs Solution Focused Thinking

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