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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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