Learning not to be a bossypants


During a vacation last year I read “Bossypants” hoping for lots of laughs and I wasn’t disappointed.  Where I was a bit more surprised however was to see that Tina Fey has also chosen to write about being a female leader in the television industry.

Though I didn’t read the book looking to learn any management or leadership lessons, a few things have stuck with me:

  • You should hire great people and get out of the way
  • Don’t hire anyone that you wouldn’t want to run into in the hallway at three in the morning.

“We work long hours…and no matter how funny their writing sample is, if they are talkative or needy or angry to deal with in the middle of the night at the printer, steer clear.”

  • Never tell a crazy person (s) he’s crazy

“There’s not one management tool in the world that recommends self righteousness as a tool.”  She recounts possible anthrax outbreak at 30 Rock and how she had a small meltdown and went home and was brought back by Lorne Michaels saying calmly “We’re all here and we’re ordering dinner if you want to come back in.”

  • “The rules of improvisation that will change your life and reduce belly fat” (this is actually the second book I’ve read this year applying improv rules more broadly.  In “Little Bets” the exploration is around using these rules to spur on innovation.)

1) Set your default setting to “Agree”.  (And yes we can’t always do this in life so it’s a reminder to respect what has been created and start from a open-minded place.)

2) Say “Yes AND” to contribute to the dialogue/solution.

3)  Make statements instead of asking questions, and women tend to struggle more with this in her mind.  Funny example –  no one wants their surgeon to say  “I’m going to be your surgeon?”

4)  There are no mistakes only opportunities.


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