What Business Owners Can Learn from Mr. Burns


Mr Burns The Simpsons Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp. All Rights Reserved
The Simpsons ™ & © Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp. All Rights Reserved.

You might know Mr. Burns as Homer Simpsons’ boss and the owner of the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant from the animated series “The Simpsons”. Mr. Charles Montgomery “Monty” Burns is said to be Matt Groening’s “embodiment of corporate greed.” Now, that’s a title. I think we can agree this sinister character fits the bill.

As horrible as Mr. Burns may seem, we can (and should) take a few lessons from his mannerisms as a business owner and leader. Sit back, tap your fingertips menacingly, and learn what being a boss is all about (wink, wink).

#1. Forget Names, That’s What Name Cards Are For

There’s a running joke in the show that Mr. Burns can never remember his employees’ names, specifically Homer. Sound’s like a great boss, huh? Seriously though, getting to know your employees can have great impact on their motivation and engagement. Knowing their name is a great place to start.

#2. Anything Is Worth Sacrificing for Profit

Mr. Burns has no problem putting financial gain in front of other priorities (including himself). Things like workers’ safety and dangerous conditions are necessary sacrifices in order to increase his profits. Employee engagement and satisfaction? Take a hint and cut ‘em! If Mr. Burns doesn’t have fun why should his employees?

#3. Your Only Priority Is Your Work

Work is all Monty has, so he expects a similar attitude from his employees. From the mouth of Mr. Burns himself, “I’ll keep it short and sweet: family, religion, friendship – these are the three demons you must slay if you wish to succeed in business.”

As you can see, Mr. Burns is definitely not the boss you would want to have, nor want to be. He represents the dangers of becoming disconnected with your employees and their day-to-day work.

Mr Burns constantly considers the bottom line of what it takes to run a business. He forgets the important things like engaging with his employees and making them aware of the greater good their work is doing.

What Did We Learn from Mr. Burns?

  • Engage with your employees and treat them with respect.
  • Delegate resources to ensure your employees are happy and safe.
  • Give them space for their personal priorities.

You’re creating the American Dream for yourself and your employees. The effect you have on your employees lives can be one of the most rewarding things about running a business. Yes, even more rewarding than making that dolla’.

Are you always striving to be the best boss you can be? Check out some of our other articles written just for you and subscribe to our blog to receive more right to your inbox.

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