January 2014: Want Leadership Lessons? Watch More TV

Want Leadership Lessons? Watch More TV

This month for “In Case You Missed It” we explore some lessons from TV shows and characters. Each year I have the same new year’s resolution – watch less TV.  It really is an addiction and doesn’t add much to the quality of my life. It goes beyond a few favorite “must see” shows – sometimes I just plop on the couch and surf mindlessly. Not good.  But, this year, while my resolution to cut back remains, I take some solace that perhaps I am catching some golden leadership nuggets as I enjoy my guilty pleasure.  No TV leadership list would be complete without some Captain Kirk – but there are some surprising sources here too.


I watch A LOT of TV and may come back to this topic.  Missing are Cosby, Brady Bunch, MASH, I Love Lucy, The Office, and many, many others. But for now, enjoy…


‘Game of Thrones’: A business leader’s guide (via CNNMoney)

  • Determine which promises you can’t afford to break
  • Protect your strongest assets
  • Cultivate middle management
  • Be wary of external hires
  • Being right is not enough


What I learned about leadership from watching ‘The Walking Dead’ (via TheNextWeb)

The world of a startup is a lot like TWD’s zombie apocalypse. Just like Rick, we find ourselves dealing with team dynamics, difficult people, competing priorities, daily threats, and the concept of solving for “perfect world” scenarios vs. simply surviving to fight another day.


The Professor Was An Idiot: 3 Leadership Lessons From His Failures (via Fast Company)

The Professor on Gilligan’s Island was a wizard with bamboo and coconuts. And yet, he failed repeatedly, perhaps not as an engineer, but as a leader. The three big mistakes he made weren’t technical, but strategic–and can serve as our signposts to success.


Leadership Lessons from Leslie Knope of ‘Parks and Recreation’

While not a likely source – if you have seen a few episodes and really think about it, the following are true about Leslie:

  • She cares about the work
  • She is self-disciplined and ambitious
  • She cares about the people
  • She is optimistic and goodhearted
  • She stands by her values


5 Leadership Lessons from James T. Kirk (via Forbes)

1. Never Stop Learning

2. Have Advisors With Different Worldviews

3. Be Part Of The Away Team

4. Play Poker, Not Chess

5. Blow up the Enterprise


Lessons Learned From Little House on the Prairie

Okay, I am cheating a little bit on this one since this article is discussing the books. So perhaps, I should write an article.  But growing up, I always admired Charles Ingalls, because he was calm in a crisis and no matter what happened in Walnut Grove, everyone turned to Charles for the solution.  We could all learn something from his positive attitude and hands on approach. He not only came up with the plan, but was also right there in the mix with his sleeves rolled up making it happen.


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