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Finding Inspiration from Movie Bosses

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Employee productivity is clearly related to how managers and employees interact. But what does cinema have to say about the boss-employee relationship and its impact on worker productivity and satisfaction?

For the most part, the world of movies show how bad bosses ruin employee productivity. But one article called 6 Movie Bosses We Actually Liked included a few interesting examples of supervisors that might be actually helping with employee productivity and morale:

Meryl Streep’s character as a tyrannical fashion magazine editor who thrives on terrorizing her subordinates (Anne Hathaway) was more than comedic. During Anne’s short time as her assistant, she learned more about herself and about the fashion industry than she ever thought. Audiences praised Meryl’s performance as an overall a talented boss with lots of experience to share. Seats at the Valentino Fashion Show included in the position.

That clip from The Devil Wears Prada showed a personality with a bit of edge but is also inspiring. The supervisor character is one who is a genuine expert and knows the role she plays in her industry. Her speech also helps to put the young employee into a better mindset. Fashion—just like any area of major production—is not just “stuff.” It’s an industry that employs millions of people and has a tremendous impact on our world.

Individual employee productivity is most closely tied to a person’s perspective on work. If you want to improve employee satisfaction, give them inspiration and get out of the way.

Another example the article brings up is Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire. Sure, that movie is remembered as much for his epic quitting scene as it is for his ability as a boss, but that’s just as important to learn from.

Tom Cruise plays a successful sports agent who gets fired from his job for writing a memo about the company’s tactics, which favor money over their clients. Jerry follows his intuition and heart and starts his own business representing the one client he has left. One of Jerry’s most memorable qualities as a boss is his compassion and ability to stick by his clients.

When Jerry quits his job, he’s so well-respected by his secretary that she follows him out the door, despite the future not looking all too bright. She clearly respected his desire to do the right thing and to go about his business in an ethical way. While that entire scene may seem a bit out of left field, don’t you want to be the sort of boss that your employees like so much that they’d follow you into the dark unknown?


© Flickr user Maryland GovPics

Still, far too many movies portray bosses in similar terms as Office Space:

While that scene may be an amusing one, it says a fair bit about the relationship most people feel they have with their bosses. There isn’t a level of trust. Rather, there’s a sense of disdain. Office Space is such a memorable and beloved movie since it’s so relatable for so many people in the workforce. Unlike the characters Cruise and Streep portray, Lumberg doesn’t do anything to motivate his employees. They certainly wouldn’t trust him enough to follow him into the unknown. He is the furthest thing from inspiring. So instead of being like Lumberg, seek to be like a more inspiring movie boss. It may take four cinematic examples of terrible bosses to find one where the boss is great, but it’s a search that’s well worth taking.

For more information on how to be like a quality movie boss, contact the business development team at AccelaWork today! We can help you get from good to great.

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