What Makes Leslie Knope a Great Leader?
They say that leaders come in all shapes and sizes. That’s definitely true of Leslie Knope.
If you’ve seen Parks and Recreation, then you know I’m talking about its lead character, played by the inimitable Amy Poehler. (If you haven’t seen this show, then go watch it as soon as you finish reading! You’re seriously missing out!)
Leslie Knope is one of the most amazing characters to ever grace our TV screens. She’s unique and strong in so many ways. She starts off as a low-level Parks Department employee in the fictional city of Pawnee, Indiana, but she gradually moves up in her career because she has the qualities of a great leader.
(It also probably has something to do with her great taste in breakfast food: waffles.)
Above all, Leslie empowers people. She believes in all of the people who work for her. From seeing something special in the seemingly apathetic intern, April, to supporting Tom with all of his wacky business ideas — Leslie sees the good in everyone.
Even when she doesn’t share the same views as other people, she has positive relationships with them and sees the value in those relationships. Ron is one of the most powerful influences in her life, despite their differences — and his grumpiness.
Leslie always wants to help people, even if she’s not fully equipped to do so. If someone asks for her help, she’ll do her darndest to get the job done. When Ann Perkins comes to her at the beginning of season one asking Leslie to do something about the gaping pit near her house, Leslie sees an opportunity to turn it into a park. It’s a huge undertaking but she is eager to help Ann and make something beautiful out of nothing.
Even when things start to go wrong, or Leslie can’t quite get something done that she really wanted to, she’s always cheerful and not easily discouraged. Having this positive attitude helps all of the people around her from getting deflated, and it helps them to stay positive.
People trust Leslie. They trust her to make decisions — but she also always consults the people in her life before she makes those decisions. She doesn’t make her decisions selfishly.
One of Leslie’s most charming characteristics is her constant validation of the people around her. This happens most of all in her relationship with her best friend, Ann. She consistently throws out adorable, if nonsensical, compliments so that Ann knows she’s appreciated.
Some of my favourites:
“Ann, you barrel of monkeys and kindness.”
“Ann, you’re beautiful and you’re organized.”
“Ann, you beautiful, tropical fish.”
(See what I mean?)
It’s all of these things, and so many more, that make Leslie Knope such an entertaining character to watch, and a great inspiration for us to all be better leaders in our own lives.
If you’re interested in learning more about how to be a better leader, contact us, our Leadership Expert (Carly) will help you achieve your goals.