7 Leadership Lessons from Mean Girls

January 26, 2016 Nicole Klemp


  1. Don’t be a “pusher”

It’s important to encourage your team to do their best, but don’t push people too hard into things that don’t fit their skills or interests. Find the areas where individuals really shine, and have them focus their efforts there.

  1. Lead by example


When Regina George wore sweatpants on a Monday, the girls had to remind her that it was against the group’s rules — rules that she had created. If you tell your employees they have to follow a certain rule or do things a certain way, make sure you follow those rules too. Be prepared to hold yourself to any standard that you set for your employees.

  1. Use real words, not jargon


When addressing your team, be specific with your language. Just like “that’s so fetch” is a meaningless phrase, telling your employees to “make it great” or “add more pizazz” is not useful direction. If you want something to be improved upon you must be more specific with your instructions. (E.g., “Work on making the design more user-friendly.”)

  1. Solve the problems in front of you

While looking at the big picture is something all good leaders do, addressing immediate problems should also be a priority. By addressing the granular issues within your organization, you will have a better understanding of the challenges facing your business, and know what you need to focus on when doing long-term planning.

  1. Have team traditions


You don’t necessarily need to wear matching outfits to bond as a team, but having something special that you do regularly is important for collaboration and team building. Maybe it’s a team breakfast every other Friday, or if your team is remote, maybe you have a virtual happy hour once a month. Just make sure it’s something fun and work-appropriate for your team to do as a break from everyday work tasks.

  1. Be a real boss, not just a “cool boss”


It’s okay for your employees to think you’re cool, but they have to respect you too. Be approachable, while also setting high expectations for your team. If you follow lesson #2 and lead by example, your team will see you as a great leader whom they trust and respect.

  1. Give genuine, constructive compliments


Be thoughtful and sincere when doling out compliments. The more specific they are, the more genuine they will seem to your employees. While saying “you’re doing a great job” is nice and anyone would love to hear it, saying “great job on your documentation; it’s very clear and well-written” packs a greater punch and shows your employees that their work is valued and their attention to detail doesn’t go unnoticed.

Learn more about leadership and how to better engage employees in our ebook, Building the Worker Experience.



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