Management From the Road: Empire

bage augIt’s quite a word, empire. It means territory or realm or domain. But unlike those innocuous words, the television show Empire conjures up images of royalty, riches and power. Who could have guessed that a television show with this name would be filled with management lessons? Here are a few pointers gleaned after a weekend binge-watching the first season:

  • Model the ethical behavior you want from your employees. It was common for Lucious Lyon, the chief executive officer and founder of the record company Empire, to lie, cheat, steal and blackmail during the course of his tenure. It was no surprise to anyone except Lucious that his employees would resort to these methods to accomplish their goals.
  • Cultivate and appreciate talent when you find it. Ex-wife Cookie was shown to have extraordinary talent producing songs. Lucious went so far as to acknowledge her unsurpassed skills. However, he also took every opportunity to minimize her abilities, ignore her suggestions and accolade others he could manipulate more easily than her. For some mind-boggling reason, her loyalty to him persisted…but only for a little while.
  • Foster team work, not rivalry. Lucious’s sons Hakeem, Jamal and Andre competed not only for their father’s fickle affections but for the literal keys to the Empire. Instead of helping them to collaborate and use their unique talents to achieve the goals of the business, Lucious pitted them against each other in a battle to claim the role of successor. The result? Infighting, sabotage, poor morale, mistrust, failed projects, loss of clients—and presumed loss of revenue.

Management lessons can be found everywhere because leadership principles are based on tried and true theories of motivation. Where was the strangest way you gained insight into a management issue or task?

Submitted by Robyn-Jay Bage


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