Management lessons from ‘House of Cards’

It’s a bit like ‘The Leadership Secrets of Genghis Khan’—if old Genghis weren’t such a softie.

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Frank Underwood, the ruthless protagonist portrayed by Kevin Spacey in the Netflix series “House of Cards,” is not what most people would consider a model of upper management.

Sure, he lies, cheats, steals, and murders his way to the top, and he rarely shows remorse for his actions—but when you say it that way it sounds bad.

When you consider that Frank Underwood is a highly motivated employee in one of the most dysfunctional offices in modern history, you can glean important insights into what separates effective managers from ineffective ones.

Here are a few choice insights from Frank Underwood that will come in handy the next time you’re trying to engage your workforce:

1. “If you want to earn my loyalty, then you have to offer yours in return.”

Underwood had an archrival who tried to gain his political patronage through deception, so he calmly reminded his counterpart that one has to give respect to get it. Savvy managers also know this, which is why they demonstrate their loyalty daily by connecting with employees on a personal level, giving genuine praise for accomplishments and treating them as colleagues, not subordinates.

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