There are very few places I can go these days without seeing something giving props to the Louisiana Redneck Moguls who make up ‘Duck Dynasty.’ Even my very own son walks around wearing a shirt saluting Si Robertson and I have found myself having real conversations about episodes while at the pool.
And while I don’t condone how the Duck Commander crew sits around in the assembly room doing everything BUT assembling, there is a wealth of business truths wrapped in this Louisiana treasure – and you don’t have to head to the bayou to discover them. (Hey, since you’re reading them here, I can now write off my TV time as research. J )
So pour yourself a glass of sweet tea, tie your camouflage bandana around your head and prop those feet up on your favorite workstation – it’s time to talk business – ‘Duck Dynasty’ style.
Realize And Support Everyone’s Place in an Organization
Getting your toes stepped on by a colleague or even by a manager is not such a great thing. Of course sometimes it is necessary but even then it should be handled with grace and professionalism.
Interfering in someone else’s work just because you can or because you think you do the job better is one of the main reasons for animosity within the workplace. People are sensitive when someone – manager or not – messes with the way they support their family and/or pay their bills.
Hey, no workplace can be rosy all the time – not even most of the time for that matter. It’s work, after all. But we do have control over how we treat others. Respect everyone’s role – even if you don’t understand it or believe in it.
Don’t Discount ANYONE – Even If You Don’t Understand a Word They’re Saying
Every organization has an Uncle Si. He’s the one who is always there when there is a need – even if it’s outside of his comfort zone. This is the person who sometimes doesn’t make sense because their perspectives on business and product are different.
But when push comes to shove, this is the person who knows what has to be done. He puts his head down, gets to work and is always the go-to person in a crunch.
Go ahead and scoff at him when his stories don’t seem to add up – but respect him. Because sooner or later you’ll need him on your side.
Understand Sometimes, When You Can’t Beat Em, Join Em.
It is really easy to get caught up in process, the way things used to be done and in way too much red tape. When employees find ways to beat the system by not exactly coloring in the lines, be open to seeing things through their eyes and check the validity of the employees’ methods.
While a manager is paid to keep the motor running – many times with tried and true process – breakthroughs happen when an employee takes the time to challenge process and demonstrate ways to improve work product.
A manager who joins in and celebrates this vs. trying to squash it will be seen as progressive, supportive and most of all, having the company’s interests at heart.
Ping Pong Is ALWAYS More Fun Than Cleaning a Dirty Warehouse.
Work can usually wait until tomorrow. An observant, intuitive manager knows when his team has just had enough. Sometimes, to get done what you need done, it’s best to make everyone step away and just unplug. And by unplug, we mean unplug.
Get out of the office. Go to a pool hall. Hit a few rounds of mini golf or go to the arcade. Take your team away from the stress and show them that, as a manager, you aren’t always about the work.
Your team will come back smiling, maybe have a few fun stories to blackmail you with and will also be ready to put in the time to get the work done.
Don’t Send a Walrus to Do a Panther’s job
This might need a little explaining: For a few seasons, off-beat Uncle Si has said he has seen a black panther in the woods around the Robinson’s property. So to make the point that anything look like a black blob if they are far enough away, Jas Robinson sends one of the guys down the road to prove the point. He then yells at him to take off his shirt because he is wearing a white shirt.
Si’s response to seeing an extremely pale redneck shirtless down the road is that there is no way this guy would be mistaken as a panther – he looks like a walrus.
Even though I can’t write this tip without laughing, it’s time to get down to it. More often than not, we send people to do jobs they are not qualified for or just don’t have the acumen to pull off. Managers brush it off as giving someone a chance, but in reality they are doing nothing but setting them up for failure.
Growth in a position sometimes is done under fire, but unfortunately, a lack of preparedness on the part of a manager often does much more harm than good and an employee takes the fall vs. a lazy manager.
Know your team’s strengths. Take the time to understand what each person specializes in. Choose the right person for the task. Everyone will be the better for it.
Always Remember Where You Came From
In the wake of huge success and money pouring in, the Robertson family still respects tradition, knows that work is just work and that family is first.
In regards to career, it is very easy to climb the ladder and never look back at where you started. But the person who doesn’t remember where they took that first step will easily lose touch with their teammates, past friends and will be on the road to burning very important bridges.
Stay true to your roots and reflect on your experiences often – not only to stay grounded but also to show the people you work with that you’re more than a climber – you’re a manager worth following and admiring.
There are so many more fun lessons to be learned while watching ‘Duck Dynasty’ and I eagerly await the new episodes this season … maybe I’ll write another column or two about it … or maybe, this quote sums it all up:
America, everybody is in too big a rush. Lay back, take a sip of tea, mow a little grass. Then if you get tired, take a nap.’ – Si Robertson, Willie’s Uncle on ‘Duck Dynasty.’