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I drafted our leadership principles as an antithesis to Michael Scott

At hiMoment, we are building an app that helps people become happier and grow. Now that we are hiring talent, we want to create a work environment that makes our employees happier too. Who doesn’t want that? After all, studies indicate that happier employees are more productive, less sick, and less prone to burnouts.

Research shows that bosses matter far more to employee satisfaction than any other parameter. More than the job itself, more than the salary.

This ultimately led me to scrap everything I had already drafted about hiMoment’s culture. “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”, said Peter Drucker. But perhaps bad leadership will beat up culture before the waffle iron is even warm.

I began researching what people hate about their bosses the most. And then something funny happened: the more I read, the more I realized that everything reminded me of a certain manager of a small paper sales company. Thank you, Michael Scott! Now, all I needed to draft the best leadership principles was to watch The Office and do the exact opposite of you.

Here’s what I have come up with so far.

The “Michael Scottless principles of leadership”

1. Management means working on your employees’ success

Our primary job as leaders is not to code, create content, or sell. Our job is to create an environment where our employees can succeed and surpass us in competence.

The one where Pam quit her secretary job to become Michael’s new… secretary

2. Don’t neglect your own craft

While not the most important leadership trait, our technical competence highly contributes to our employees well-being. If they can discuss their work with us at the same level, they are happier. Practice your game.

3. High skill + high challenge = flow

We strive to bring employees into a state of “flow” for as much of their work time as possible. To be in flow, tasks must be challenging and their difficulty level matched by the employees’ skill levels.

In a state of flow, employees will be so engaged with their work that they forget about time and even their sense of self. As much as possible, we protect them of all work that keeps them away from flow.

4. Give feedback often

Forget annual feedback talks. Feedback needs frequency to work.

We praise our employees when they did something well (regardless if their efforts ended up being successful or not), and praise them for initiative (even if they did not do well).

We see critical feedback as an important source of growth for our employees and don’t avoid giving it and don’t let it accumulate too much.

5. Talk about the next years, not days

We shift the conversation from operational talk to talking about our employees’ development. Is what they do today a step towards achieving their long-term goals?

6. Explain why, not how something needs to be done

The best way to provide our employees with a maximum degree of autonomy while at the same time setting clear goals is to focus the conversation on the “why”, not the “how”. Once they understand the “why”, they will know (quite often better than us) “how” to get there.

“Why”, Michael. “Why”, not “how”…

7. Always set clear expecations

Unmet expectations are a big source of disappointment. This is why we think before making commitments to our employees and follow through with them.

I swear, he will go to hell for this one…

8. Fairness & respect

No explanation needed. Set an example.

“I want people to be scared of how much they love me”

I was pretty happy with my first draft, but I only watched 20 episodes of the show, so I need to do more research before I consider the list to be complete (God, I love my job).

How do you feel about these principles? Would you consider working for hiMoment? If yes, it’s your lucky day, we are hiring!

Perhaps you are also interested to know that the single best indicator for your personal work success is your happiness. If you want to work on that, you can download hiMoment for free for iOS and Android. Or watch our attempt to pay tribute to Michael.



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