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PR Lessons from Michael Scott

Published on May 9, 2018, at 10:02 a.m.
by Cara Bolt.

Michael Scott is one of the more memorable managers portrayed on television. His wacky shenanigans create some of the most iconic scenes in “The Office,” a mockumentary about daily office life at Dunder Mifflin, a middling paper company. Underneath all the tomfoolery, Scott is able to create genuine moments with his team. Despite how wildly inappropriate Scott can be, he can teach public relations practitioners a thing or two.

Photo via Getty Images

Establish a company culture.
The Dundies is an annual award show created by Scott. First appearing in season two episode “The Dundies,” Scott gave awards to people for having the “Whitest Sneakers” and or being “Hottest in the Office.” Setting aside questions of inappropriateness, he shows that each employee in the office is highly valued.

Recognizing team members is a smart way to boost morale and return on investment (ROI). As a SnackNation blog post notes, “Acknowledging achievement can have serious ROI — to the tune of 50% higher productivity and as much as 20% increase in business outcomes.”

Maybe Scott was supporting life accomplishments, such as keeping sneakers white (kudos, Pam), but by the end of the Dundies, the office staff bonded and felt more like a familial unit, which can impact the bottom line.

“The people that you work with are, when you get down to it, your very best friends.”
-Michael Scott

Photo via IMDb

Build one-on-one relationships with team members.
Before Michael Scott became a manager, he was the best salesman at Dunder Mifflin. This may be a nod to the workplace stereotype of “rising to the level of your incompetence,” but it also underscores what Scott is really good at — building relationships. The things he says may often be questionable, but he’s open, and on many occasions, sincere.

For example, in the episode “Business School,” receptionist Pam Beasley invites the entire office to her art show. Scott is the only one to show up, compliments Pam on her art and buys her drawing of the Scranton Dunder Mifflin office.

Treating your team members and co-workers with respect and recognizing their worth can take you a long way in your career.

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