6 Movies With Surprisingly Good Tips for Managers

by Katie Sawyer, 3 minutes read
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What makes a good manager? Is it ruthlessness, determination, and ambition? Is it empathy, honesty, and integrity? Well, it’s a combination of all of those things — and it’s not easy.

Read on to see how employees and their managers are depicted in these movies. You’ll see that when it comes to management, there’s a lotta good, a little bad, and sometimes even a little ugly. But we promise — it’s mostly good.

1. Office Space

If you’ve never watched Office Space, it’s a must for both managers and employees. In the cult classic, Bill Lumbergh, the monotone boss with no appreciation of personal space or weekends, constantly nags his team about the smallest things.

From creating the latest TPS reports to asking them to work overtime at a moment’s notice, his micromanaging style crushes morale and saps souls. Mmmkay, If you could just go ahead and watch the movie, that would be great.

Management takeaway: Encourage and inspire your teams. Empower them with tools to help them work efficiently — and don’t micromanage everything they do. Bonus if you reward them with extra flair.

2. 12 Angry Men

When you’re a middle manager, you often have to manage complex situations. And that might mean making an unpopular decision.

In 12 Angry Men, Henry Fonda plays a member of a jury who is convinced that the defendant on trial is innocent despite the other 11 jurors putting forward a guilty verdict. Over the next few hours, he manages to use an impressive combination of facts and persuasive argument to convince everybody that he is right.

Management takeaway: Sometimes people aren’t going to like your decision. But if you listen, are patient, and you think strategically, you can get your direct reports on your side.

3. Up in the Air

For HR professionals, Up in the Air should be a rite of passage. Letting people go is never easy, and that’s certainly the message we get from George Clooney’s character, a consultant hired in for no other reason but to fire people.

He has no connection with these people and he doesn’t care for their life stories. He has a job to do. That is until realizes the importance of human connection and reevaluates how he treats people.

Management takeaway: Work is better when you have tools that can boost employee engagement and reduce churn. And how you act as a manager can boost morale and employee productivity.

4. Working Girl

It’s great getting the credit for a brilliant idea, but what if you take the credit for somebody else’s genius? That’s exactly what ruthless boss Katherine Parker (Sigourney Weaver) does to savvy secretary Tess McGill (Melanie Griffith) in the hit comedy, Working Girl. But who comes out on top – and who do you relate to more?

Management takeaway: Being a manager doesn’t mean that honesty, authenticity, and integrity need to be filed away under “not applicable.” In fact, these qualities can be your saving grace. Give and take credit where it is due. And when possible, lift your employees up and give them the spotlight.

5. Empire Records

When you’re a manager, sometimes you get so frustrated with your staff you make them sit on a couch all day. At least that’s what happens to record store manager Joe in Empire Records. One of his favorite employees is notorious for running schemes — but this last one takes the cake. However, when his whole team bands together, he sees how important it is to have staff that care about him and his store.

Management takeaway: When you’re a manager, there’s a lot of patience and coaching. Even when you’re frustrated, listen to your staff and work together to find a solution. You never know — that could be the solution you’ve been looking for.

From the Silver Screen to the Office Floor

If you’ve watched any of these movies and thought, “yeah, I’ve been there,” you’re not alone. But being a manager doesn’t always have to be hard. You can make things run even smoother when you streamline your workforce management. Sign up for a free trial of Deputy today to see how you can be a (better) boss.