A leadership lesson from The Office finale

NBC, Chris Haston/Associated Press
NBC, Chris Haston/Associated Press

No self-respecting leadership writer could allow the momentous occasion that occurred Thursday night to pass without some kind of mention.

Michael Scott reappeared on The Office.

The world's worst manager may have left the show two years ago, but Steve Carrell's cameo in the season finale reminded us why he could also, in his own twisted way, actually be a good boss. Yes, the "king of forwards" sent a picture of his half-naked girlfriend to an entire company department. Yes, over the course of his seven seasons with the show, he managed to insult every race, creed, gender and sexual preference in existence. And yes, he did things in almost every episode that would have had a team of lawyers showing him the door faster than Donald Trump can say "you're fired" had he done the same in the real world.

But for all his cringe-worthy antics, admit it: There are times when it would have been fun to have a boss like Michael Scott. Someone to laugh at. Someone who made the workplace so surreal and so outrageous that it offered moments of poignancy. Someone who, above all, actually cared. "I feel like all my kids grew up and then they married each other," Scott says in the finale while looking at a table where Jim and Pam, Dwight and Angela are seated at the latter couple's wedding. "It's every parent's dream!"

Jena McGregor is a columnist for On Leadership.

Read also:

'The Office' finale: 'There's a lot of beauty in ordinary things'

A mockumentary is wrapped as NBC’s ‘The Office’ shuts down Thursday after 8 comic years

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Jena McGregor writes a daily column analyzing leadership in the news for the Washington Post’s On Leadership section.
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Jena McGregor · May 17, 2013