THE OFFICE is one of the few TV shows that I watch regularly. The setting, Dunder Mifflin, is fictitious, yet familiar. The writing is crisp. The actors are first-rate. The filming is creative. But I watch is for one reason alone: the character, Michael Scott.
Let’s be honest: there is a little bit of Michael Scott in all of us.
I have been in management for 15 of the last 22 years, and I have had the opportunity to work with many people across different industries. I have known personally hundreds of managers, and I have known by sight hundreds more. It’s amazing what you can hear if you listen.
A female supervisor tried to remove fuzz from the front of a male subordinate’s sweater. It wasn’t a fuzz, it was a hair. And it was still attached. To the man’s chest.
She was being overly-familiar. Monkeys groom each other; supervisors should not groom employees. She’s a Michael.
An employee was showing her co-workers a picture of herself holding a kitten. She was very proud of herself because that particular picture was taken before she lost over 200 pounds! Everyone was congratulating the woman. The manager looked at the picture and said loudly to all, “To put her size in perspective, you have to understand that she was holding a full-grown bobcat.”
His attempt at humor went over like a fart in church. He’s a Michael.
A vice president got in an elevator with a woman he hadn’t seen for several months and hugged her warmly. After the hug, he noticed something was different about her. Looking at her mid-section, he reached out his hand and placed it on her stomach. “Oh my gosh! When’s the baby due?!” You guessed it: the recently-divorced, celibate woman was not carrying the baby Jesus or any other baby.
It’s very nice to be friendly. But touching a woman’s stomach?! He’s an idiot. And a Michael.
A manager wasn’t paying attention at his boss’s staff meeting. Instead, he was daydreaming about his girlfriend, specifically about what he wished he were doing with her at that very moment. He decided to text her with those very thoughts. However, since he was looking right at his boss when he selected the text address, he selected his boss’s address and hit SEND.
He had no impulse control, common sense, or decency. Hi, Michael. There’s the door…
A well-endowed employee asked her manager for help with something that was making her feel uncomfortable. She told him that whenever she met with a particular director, the man stared at her chest instead of looking her in the eyes. The manager furrowed his brow and sat silently for a moment. Then he broke the silence, “Have you ever considered breast-reduction surgery?”
Michael, Michael, Michael…(shaking head from side to side).
Mangers misbehave because bad behavior
- has been reinforced (usually this is unintentional),
- has not seen by superiors, or
- has been seen BUT not punished.
They misbehave because they are immature. Each Michael listed above misbehaved: too touchy, “funny”, friendly, REALLY friendly, an idiot… It comes back to immaturity.
A college chum of mine said this about how Michael makes us feel: “…he is the high school friend who is too stupid to realize he is being foolish…which means the rest of us end up getting embarrassed for him.”
If you are a Michael, stop it. We laugh at you, not with you. Your behavior makes us feel uncomfortable, and we are embarrassed for you. If you have been a Michael, apologize for it and move on. If you have never committed a “Michael Moment”, you either got into management when you were wiser and more mature, or you are a liar.
Tell me about your Michael.
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