10 Management Tips From David Brent

10 Management Tips From David Brent

David Brent from paper company Wernham Hogg has found a new incarnation. He’s a singer in A Life On The Road, a forthcoming mockumentary about his musical career.

We thought we’d take a look at some of David’s top hits from The Office and remind ourselves how one man’s ‘wisdom’ can help us all in the song and dance of working life.   

A good boss knows how to lead

Leadership sometimes requires sacrifice.  One day you might have to put your backside on the line and ego on the backburner because you’re feeling the heat.  That’s when you’re going to need to get out of the kitchen and into the office, leading by example by doing the jobs nobody else wants to do.

David Brent says:

Does a struggling salesman start turning up on a bicycle? No, he turns up in a newer car – perception, yeah? They got to trust me – I’m taking these guys into battle, yeah? And I’m doing my own stapling. 

Encourage people to be their best

Nobody likes working with a Debbie Downer – that one team member who’s always moaning about other people’s work.   To be a success in the office, you have to help your colleagues do the best they can.  As they walk to greatness, you’ll be running along side them.  Remember to encourage everyone around you, because a rising tide makes us all better swimmers.

David Brent says:

I actually like my staff to be better than me. That keeps me on my toes. So my motto would be ‘Be careful because there’s always somebody ready to step into your shoes and do your job better than you do it.’

A good boss knows their staff

The best bosses help pick the right roles for their staff.  They do this by caring about their wellbeing and making sure that their unique talents are being used properly.   Take time to learn about people’s strengths and weaknesses and you’ll find your staff are even more committed.

David Brent says:

This is the accounts department, the number bods. Do not be fooled by their job descriptions, they are absolutely mad, all of ’em. Especially that one, he’s mental. Not literally of course, that wouldn’t work. Last place you’d want someone like that is in accounts… 

Thanking you is pleasing you

When it comes to keeping staff happy, it’s the little things, the things we don’t notice, that mean the most to all of us.   The early morning cup of tea taken to a teammate or holding a door open for an older colleague.  But the smallest thing you can do is to simply say ‘thank you’.  That one word has the power to make people feel really good.

David Brent says:

You’ve seen how I react to people, make them feel good, make them think that anything’s possible. If I make them laugh along the way, sue me. And I don’t do it so they turn round and go ‘Thank you David for the opportunity, thank you for the wisdom, thank you for the laughs.’ I do it so, one day, someone will go “There goes David Brent. I must remember to thank him.”

Kindness isn’t weakness

Some people might say that if you’re too kind, too helpful in the office, colleagues will take advantage of you.  That you’ll be lumbered with their late-night reports and have your compassion taken for granted.  But that isn’t true at all.   The nicer you are to people, the more they’ll respect and admire you.  Being kind is the first step on the corporate ladder to senior management.

David Brent says:

My proudest moment here wasn’t when I increased profits by 17%, or cut expenditure without losing a single member of staff. No. It was a young Greek guy, first job in the country, hardly spoke a word of English, but he came to me and he went ‘Mr Brent, will you be the Godfather to my child?’ Didn’t happen in the end. We had to let him go, he was rubbish. He was rubbish. 

Equality equals empowerment

Have you ever been in an office where you’ve been told you can’t use a shelf because you’re short?  Or you’re not allowed to make the tea because you’re a man?   Those businesses have gone bust and rightly so.   For a company to thrive today, it has to acknowledge that people’s differences don’t count.

David Brent says:

Well. I’m angry. And not because I’m in it, but because it degrades women, which I hate. And the culprit, whoever he is, is in this room. Or she, it could be a woman. Women are as [censored] as men. Not naming any names.

Be a devil for details

How can seagulls spot a chip dropped by a tourist? It’s because they pay attention.  To manage successfully, you have to know the ins and the outs, the whys and the wherefores of your company.  You need to be familiar with every department’s responsibilities and to be able to go over them with a fine-tooth comb.  If you know everything, you’ll never be caught out.

David Brent says:

In fact, a postage stamp is legal tender. A bus driver would have to accept that as currency. 

Feed them with feedback

Nobody likes being on a treadmill at work, always running but never getting anywhere.  (Unless you are a private trainer at an upmarket gymnasium.)   But to get somewhere, we need directions and that’s where a boss comes in.  With careful feedback, tailored to each person, they can provide lessons in how to become a lean, mean, office machine.  Who wouldn’t look forward to learning?

David Brent says:

Today I’m doing the staff appraisals, and some people get a little bit nervous about that ‘cos they think they’re walking the long mile to put their head on the block. But they’re wrong, it’s a chance for them to tell me where we’re going wrong.

Recognise the individual

The bigger the office, the easier it is for people to get lost.  Literally and figuratively.    When someone works in a big department, they can feel their achievements and efforts aren’t being acknowledged.  That they’re just another cog in the engine.   Make sure you make your colleagues feel special by noticing them as people and recognising their uniqueness.

David Brent says:

 This is Sanj, this guy does the best Ali G impersonation, Aiiieee. I can’t do it, go on, do it
Sanj: I don’t, must be someone else
David Brent: Oh, sorry, it’s the other one…
Sanj: The other what…

Dance like nobody’s watching

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