Now I’m not suggesting you lure your enemies into a swarm of zombies if you have a disagreement…but there are a few lessons that you can learn about dealing with conflict, building relationships and working in a team from the Walking Dead (if you look very closely.)
Here are some of the top career lessons that I’ve taken from Rick Grimes and co.
1) It’s better to work together, not against each other
You’ll never get anything achieved as a team if you don’t cooperate and work together. Even if you feel like you have a clash of personalities, sometimes bringing different qualities and view points to a project can result in the best ideas and you’ll get things done much more efficiently.
The Walking Dead demonstrates that there is strength in numbers and you’re much less likely to get bitten by a zombie if you stick together! Merle is just one example of someone who learnt the hard way, that going alone is more foolish than brave when he met a rather violent death in the hands of a rival!
2) If you don’t agree with the way things are being done, speak up
I’m not suggesting you scream all the reasons you disagree with someone in their face (or throw them to the zombies), but if you’re not happy about the way something is being done, it’s better to be open than to let it stew or allow things to become sour between you both (though Rick is probably going to knock you back anyway.)
In business, if you have a concern about the processes in place or your current workload arrange a meeting with your manager to discuss the issues. Be mature and reasonable about it and hopefully you can come to an arrangement.
3) Be a leader
The key to a strong team is a good leader, so why not throw yourself in and become that person? Rick immediately took on the role of leader of the group when things went pear shape and has put it upon himself to lead them to safety since the beginning of the outbreak. Though he’s had a few wobbles, which is understandable considering the circumstances, he’s remained strong and smart in guiding the group and deciding the best course of action when times get tough.
Though the idea of leadership can be a daunting one, it is a responsibility that often comes with career progression and can lead to more influence and status in the company. Plus watching your team succeed can be very rewarding!
4) Be decisive
You’re going to have to make a lot of important decisions in your working life that have potential to determine the path your career takes, so it’s important that you are able to stand strong in your decisions. Ignoring an issue doesn’t make it disappear unfortunately, so options and risks have to be weighed up before the matter becomes a problem. This is especially important if you are in a management role and it could effect other staff or the running of the business.
Though a lot of the decisions the characters in the Walking Dead have to face are a little more life or death than the average person’s, it proves that quick thinking is often essential. At times Rick has had to make the decision to leave someone behind in order to save the group, which is not an easy decision to be made, but someone had to do it!
5) It’s not what you know, it’s who you know
In the Walking Dead the key to survival is building strong relationships and trust with others, who will have your back in tough times.
In the professional world it’s equally about who you know, as career success often comes from networking and building relationships with people who may be able to provide you with job opportunities, business prospects, etc.
Moral of the story = Be nice to people and put the effort in!
6) Learn from your mistakes
How many times have Rick and the gang had to battle a hoard of zombies? Too many if you ask me! But what they have done, is learnt from their previous mistakes. It took them long enough and a fair few encounters to discover that dark spaces probably aren’t safe places and zombies don’t die from a punch in the face, but they finally seem to have constructed a safe compound away from the zombies. For now.
This lesson can be adopted in your career. Things aren’t always going to go to plan and mistakes happen, but it’s how you handle them and learn from them in the future that matters.