October 02, 2015 Helpful Tips

Are your Thursday nights feeling a little lonely without the Parks and Recreation crew? Ours, too. The thing we miss most is watching Amy Poehler shine as Leslie Knope, Pawnee’s most endearing public servant. Leslie may have been a little over the top at times–okay, most of the time–but she was a fantastic boss, friend and spokesperson for her community. Here are 10 ways she still inspires us to be better on the job (and in life):

1. She’s organized and extremely detail-oriented.

One of the main reasons Leslie is so good at her job and able to juggle so many projects is that she’s extremely organized and detail-oriented. We suspect it comes naturally to her, but that doesn’t mean those of us less gifted in creating systems can’t emulate her. You don’t have to import special binder tabs from Mexico like Leslie to be considered organized, either.

When it comes to balancing your to-dos, we like task managing app Todoist. Todoist lets you manage and sync your tasks between your desktop and devices. Also, multiple people can update your tasks, which makes it a great tool for managing team projects. Other great task managers are Google Keep and Any.Do, but there are tons of free and premium apps out there. Find one that works for you and stay on top of your ever-growing lists.

2. She gives credit where credit is due.

No one can quite deliver a compliment like Leslie Knope. She motivates her employees by accentuating the positive and celebrating their unique characteristics. She spearheads most of her team’s projects, but she always gives those who work for her the opportunity to rise to the challenge—and she’s the first one to celebrate their successes.

Always let your employees and coworkers know how much you appreciate them. People are more likely to work hard if they know their efforts will be recognized and rewarded.

3. She’s passionate about her job (to say the least).

There’s an old saying: ”Choose a job you love and you will never work a day in your life.” Leslie Knope loves working in government, and it shows.

Find what you are passionate about and make it your life’s work. It may lead you to start your own small business or take on new responsibilities or projects at your current job. Either way, jump in and give it all you’ve got, just like Leslie would.

4. She knows the power of a visual aid.

Leslie knows how to take her presentations to the next level. There has never been a Leslie Knope occasion that was missing a banner or prop. While some of her methods may be overkill, they do bring to mind an important question: Are you communicating your message in the most effective manner?

Visual aids can be a great way to gain attention and support your presentation. If you were showing investors how your businesses revenues have grown over the course of a year, a line or bar graph would be a powerful tool to visually show that growth. But be careful only to include visual aids only where they add value. Presenting a graph just for the sake of having one can distract from your overall message.

5. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

Start your day off right! Studies have shown that eating breakfast not only jump-starts your metabolism, but also helps you focus and improves your cognitive performance. Small business owners have extreme demands on their time; managing schedules, people, and projects can be a tough balancing act.

Why wouldn’t you want your day to be as productive as possible? Don’t skip the waffles, because we all know Leslie wouldn’t.

6. She cares more about the people than the projects, even Jerry/Gary/Terry/Larry.

Leslie is known for her commitment to her work, but she isn’t stepping on people on her way to the top. She celebrates birthdays, sympathizes with heartbreaks and throws one heck of a party. “Ain’t no party like a Leslie Knope party, cause’ a Leslie Knope party is 30 parties,” says Leslie Knope.

Take a page out of her book and invest in your coworkers. Learn what’s important to them, and make it important to you. Trust us, people will notice.

7. She rises to the challenge.

It’s inevitable that failure will happen. Everyone will experience it at one point or another in the life of their business. Things won’t always work out as you planned, and yes, it will most likely be Jerry’s fault.

The important question is, how will you handle it? Will you rise to the challenge and learn from the situation, or will you give up? I think we know what Leslie would do. Remember that every challenge is simply an opportunity to grow and become better.

8. She’s involved in her community.

Leslie loves Pawnee and has extreme pride in being a resident. She is well versed in the town’s history and even leads a troupe of scouts (or “Pawnee Goddesses” as she prefers to call them).

For small business owners, being involved in your community can make or break your business. Whether that means attending local events or finding time to volunteer with a local charity, being involved is not only the right thing to do, it actually helps your company. People want to buy from someone they know, so get out there and meet everyone.

9. She sticks to her principles.

Leslie has a strong set of personal and political values that she will not compromise. She sticks to her guns and fights for her principles. However, she doesn’t look down on anyone who believes differently from her. She is confident enough to not be threatened by opposing opinions.

When it comes to working with or managing people, differing points of view are inevitable. Don’t give up your core beliefs, but listen to the opinions of those who disagree with you. They may help you to strengthen your own position, or even change it.

10. She’s never finished.

Leslie has no intention of slowing down and neither should you. If you are standing still and not moving forward, you’ll be passed by. Don’t plateau. Always look for ways to improve your performance, whether it’s by tweaking your processes, learning a skill, or forging new relationships. Be someone that inspires innovation.

Leslie said it best, “I’m big enough to admit I often inspire myself.” Be inspired by yourself. And thank you, Leslie Knope, for inspiring us, too.

 

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