Weekender: Rob McElhenney’s Desirable Workplace Culture

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Welcome to another edition of leadersayswhat’s the Weekender, a crumb of knowledge to start your weekend off on the right track. Why just a crumb? Because it’s the weekend!

We’ve all worked in places that are less-than-ideal. This may have been the impetus for your leadership trek; you knew you could do a better job. That’s how Rob McElhenney got started when he co-created the hit show It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia. In it’s tenth season, Rob serves as the executive producer, writer, director, and one of the leading actors.

On WTF Podcast with Marc Maron, Rob discussed the responsibilities associated with holding such a prominent role on Sunny.

It stinks from the head down. Whatever mood you come into work with, that’s going to permeate through the entire crew… One of the things that’s really important to us is that we create a fun working experience. I had done enough in the past where you go to these sets and people are yelling at each other and everyone’s f–cking pissed off. I thought if we ever get to run a show we’ll never do that. No yelling on the set. Everybody’s here to have fun. We’ll work hard but it a comedy so let’s figure out the best environment to have fun.

“It stinks from the head down.” You set the tone. It’s not based on whatever isn’t going well, it’s about how you react and how you work to fix it. Need to expend some frustration? Get a punching bag other than your staff.

Determine the type of workplace you’d like to spend your time and start modeling the associated behaviors. Don’t let ego or bad news distract you from practicing positive leadership. With respect, integrity, and basic courteousness, it’ll be sunny where you work, too.

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