In their dysfunctional adventures in and out of the White House, President Selina Meyer and her team came across challenges of all kinds, mostly of their own creation. Having to deal with arrogant Senators and Congressmen, incompetent staff and the nosy media often proved to be too much to handle for the POTUS and her staff. More so for the staff as they also had to deal with the occasionally, unbearably arrogant Selina Meyer! In her journey from the Vice President to the President and then back to Presidency after a little hiatus to the ‘spa’, Selina tried to do everything that an ideal leader is expected to, while at the same time engaging in actions that would befit a dystopian political thriller’s villain. President Meyer wasn’t the only one to serve golden little nuggets; characters like Jonah Ryan, Dan Eagan and Roger Furlong too served important lessons on the Dos and Don’ts of workplace etiquette. And while the fictional White House often matched the real one in its satirical lack of tact and policy, sadly, we can all learn a few things from the show to take with us to our workplaces.
Respect Your Employees
Throughout the show we see incidents of extreme disrespect and harassment dealt with in the most casual manner. Creative liberties aside, even these profanity-laced episodes can teach us a thing or two about managing a team (after all, no matter how dysfunctional, the team did manage to reach the White House). If Selina respected her staff, it must’ve been very subtle in nature. From her utter disregard for Amy Brookheimer, the long serving Chief of Staff, to Gary Walsh, her prompter, bagman, and everything in between – Selina never gave them enough respect and did not acknowledge their value. While this is not to say she did not understand their value whatsoever, a severe lack of appreciation could be easily seen. This resulted in Amy leaving at the earliest hint of an opportunity, and Gary probably would’ve done the same if, well, he wasn’t Gary.
If you don’t respect your employees and team members, dissatisfaction is likely to increase resulting in the loss of competent, loyal and high performing employees. While Gary did not leave, even he grew frustrated and burst out at Selina. The case of Jonah Ryan is an example of how success can arrive from the unlikeliest of sources, no matter how seemingly incompetent the source.
Challenges can arise at any point, even if the sky seems perfectly clear. While the Meyer presidency was just finding its groove, they were hit by a data breach. Sometimes the butterfingered Mike McClintock would fail to stay informed about recent developments, and in other instances his information would be completely ignored. The brouhaha in the Meyer offices almost invariably would lead to an important decision being overlooked. But despite the mess, the Meyer team did come out on top occasionally.
Be it having to come up with a running mate in less than an hour or accepting China’s support in the middle of a public address, the team was quick on its feet. Judging by the endless number of times they were put in such situations, prompt thinking was the only factor keeping them afloat. Cafferty and Ken kept themselves aware of all possible scenarios and were able to respond to situations adequately and efficiently. For any team to be successful and effective, it needs to be prepared for any surprise that it might face. Preparing for the expected and conceptualizing and acknowledging the possibility of the unexpected, therefore, become indispensable.
Picking The Right Person
A major problem throughout the show’s story was having to select and put people in different positions. Right from the first episode where Dan Eagan is selected as part of the Meyer team, to nominating Tom James as the Vice President, Selina Myer showed great vision in being able to choose the right person for the right job. Each role in her team was performed by those best suited for it, and this resulted in whatever little productivity they could achieve.
It is important that all team roles are filled in by people who have the requisite skills and desire. Leon West did an excellent job as the Press Secretary, utilising his sharp journalistic instincts. And while Mike was remarkably incompetent at his Press Secretary job, he fit right in the Broadcast News sector. The show is replete with examples of how picking the right people can take you closer to the goals that you want to achieve.
There you have it. A checklist of the things you definitely should and absolutely, under-any-circumstances should not do as displayed by arguably the greatest TV Female POTUS of all time, Selina Meyer. Veep will be missed!