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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 March 23, 2021

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

One of the greatest ironies of this age is that while various gadgets like smartphones and netbooks allow you to multitask, it seems that you never manage to get things done. You are caught in the busyness trap. There’s just too much work to do in one day that sometimes you end up exhausted with half-finished tasks.

The problem lies in how to keep our energy level high to ensure that you finish at least one of your most important tasks for the day. There’s just not enough hours in a day and it’s not possible to be productive the whole time.

You need more than time management. You need energy management

1. Dispel the idea that you need to be a “morning person” to be productive

How many times have you heard (or read) this advice – wake up early so that you can do all the tasks at hand. There’s nothing wrong with that advice. It’s actually reeks of good common sense – start early, finish early. The thing is that technique alone won’t work with everyone. Especially not with people who are not morning larks.

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I should know because I was once deluded with the idea that I will be more productive if I get out of bed by 6 a.m. Like most of you Lifehackers, I’m always on the lookout for productivity hacks because I have a lot of things in my plate. I’m working full time as an editor for a news agency, while at the same time tending to my side business as a content marketing strategist. I’m also a travel blogger and oh yeah, I forgot, I also have a life.

I read a lot of productivity books and blogs looking for ways to make the most of my 24 hours. Most stories on productivity stress waking up early. So I did – and I was a major failure in that department – both in waking up early and finishing early.

2. Determine your “peak hours”

Energy management begins with looking for your most productive hours in a day. Getting attuned to your body clock won’t happen instantly but there’s a way around it.

Monitor your working habits for one week and list down the time when you managed to do the most work. Take note also of what you feel during those hours – do you feel energized or lethargic? Monitor this and you will find a pattern later on.

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My experiment with being a morning lark proved that ignoring my body clock and just doing it by disciplining myself to wake up before 8 a.m. will push me to be more productive. I thought that by writing blog posts and other reports in the morning that I would be finished by noon and use my lunch break for a quick gym session. That never happened. I was sleepy, distracted and couldn’t write jack before 10 a.m.

In fact that was one experiment that I shouldn’t have tried because I should know better. After all, I’ve been writing for a living for the last 15 years, and I have observed time and again that I write more –and better – in the afternoon and in evenings after supper. I’m a night owl. I might as well, accept it and work around it.

Just recently, I was so fired up by a certain idea that – even if I’m back home tired from work – I took out my netbook, wrote and published a 600-word blog post by 11 p.m. This is a bit extreme and one of my rare outbursts of energy, but it works for me.

3. Block those high-energy hours

Once you have a sense of that high-energy time, you can then mold your schedule so that your other less important tasks will be scheduled either before or after this designated productive time.

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Block them out in your calendar and use the high-energy hours for your high priority tasks – especially those that require more of your mental energy and focus. You also need to use these hours to any task that will bring you closer to you life’s goal.

If you are a morning person, you might want to schedule most business meetings before lunch time as it’s important to keep your mind sharp and focused. But nothing is set in stone. Sometimes you have to sacrifice those productive hours to attend to other personal stuff – like if you or your family members are sick or if you have to attend your son’s graduation.

That said, just remember to keep those productive times on your calendar. You may allow for some exemptions but stick to that schedule as much as possible.

There’s no right or wrong way of using this energy management technique because everything depends on your own personal circumstances. What you need to remember is that you have to accept what works for you – and not what other productivity gurus say you should do.

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Understanding your own body clock is the key to time management. Without it, you end up exhausted chasing a never-ending cycle of tasks and frustrations.

Featured photo credit: Collin Hardy via unsplash.com

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