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3 Things Leaders Can Learn from The Walking Dead

3 Things Leaders Can Learn from The Walking Dead

AMC’s hit series The Walking Dead has quickly become one of the most popular shows on cable, with over 17 million viewers tuning in last season. In a world where a super-virus turned most of our population into flesh-eating undead, the desperate fight for survival by a select few is compelling… and oddly familiar. Surely you haven’t experienced a zombie apocalypse in real life, but you’ve probably dealt with difficult people, scarce resources and a shockingly high casualty rate at your workplace before.

In the spirit of Halloween, let’s explore the challenging roles of today’s leaders; because, like zombies, the leadership lessons we can glean never stop.

1. Indecision Costs Lives

Failure to make a decision during a catastrophe costs lives. The stakes may not be as high around your office, but indecision means missed deadlines, overtime hours and weekends at the office. Don’t sacrifice your team’s personal lives to avoid conflict.

It’s ok to occasionally embrace a little risk and test ideas out. You must be able to make snap judgments and difficult decisions without a committee vote. Sometimes you’ll be wrong and you’ll pay the price, but it’s one of the fastest ways to improve your odds of survival.

2. There is Strength in Numbers

The person who insists on going it alone in horror shows always, always, always dies. Working and communicating as a team is critical to keeping your group intact. As a leader, your first reaction is often the correct one, but this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t hear others out. Give your underlings input to enhance your chances of success.

Always have a plan, whether entering an abandoned house or launching a new employee engagement campaign. Set clear expectations for each team member but remember not to micromanage your talent. If someone has gotten positive results from a particular method, then go with it. But be ready to regroup and develop a new plan of attack if things change.

3. Zombies Create More Zombies

When there’s one, there’s a dozen, all trying to eat you. And if you’re bit, it’s over. But zombies aren’t just a Walking Dead reality; they’re a real workplace problem too…

Look at the faces of those who have made it through the hard times and have braved Judgment Day with you. They are the ones who are doing the jobs of three people, for the same pay. Notice the increasing numbers of clock watchers, zoned out like workplace zombies. The moral of the story, low morale can suck the life out of your team just as fast as a zombie.

If you’ve become so busy fighting to just live another day, you may have forgotten to take the time to get to know your team. Ask about their families, hobbies and favorite TV shows. In this chaotic world, what are the things they live for? These connections will pay dividends during peak project times (or a real zombie apocalypse).

On TV and in the real world, leaders have to make hard decisions and live with the consequences. Fortunately for us, bad decisions rarely lead to anyone getting eaten alive. Still not sure if you’d stay alive through the end of the world with only your coworkers as allies? Take this quiz to find out if you’re a survivor or zombie bait.

Obsessed with The Walking Dead too? Share more leadership tips you’ve learned on our LinkedIn post!

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