The Mad Men method of curing entitlement in the workplace


The most recent episode of Mad Men which aired in the USA this week was what I called “…a perfect example of dramatic dialogue for two amazing characters“.

While the entire episode is in effect a dialogue between them, one of the key moments happens when Peggy Olson and Don Draper get stuck into each other verbally over unfilled expectations and a simmering sense of entitlement.

Scroll to 9 minutes in and watch the next 2 minutes for the scene. (If you follow the show and haven’t reached this episode I suggest you skip the rest to avoid spoilers)

Elisabeth Moss and John Hamm are playing possibly 2 of the best characters which ever were on TV. In this two minutes of Television a number of things happen between them;

  • Peggy Olson (Moss) gets a whole load of stuff off her chest
  • Don Draper (Hamm) behaves like a boss, that is giving feedback, for the first time in a while
  • Olson has her sense of entitlement removed in a stinging rebuke
  • Both break a barrier which has been preventing them from working together effectively in recent episodes

Now, I’m not saying that an Employee/Employer relationship should have confrontations like this, but if you think about how everyone seems to tip-toe around each other these days, perhaps an honesty session is worthwhile once in a while. I suspect the Don Draper/Peggy Olson dynamic illustrated in this weeks Madmen episode is not suitable for the 21st century, but often something has to give.

An employee needs to be getting regular feedback from Management, whether that is ballbreaking or praise. It’s better than working in a vacuum. Conversely, employers need to absolutely open themselves to any sort of feedback or complaints in a one on one manner on a regular basis.

A good manager will know how to do it, but if it is HR department prescribed watch out.

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2 thoughts on “The Mad Men method of curing entitlement in the workplace

  1. Interesting. Reminds me of good couple counselling or mediation, where the aim is to help people speak openly and honestly to each other. Authentically. Then their job is done.

  2. Pingback: Be able to speak out and prevent Product Failure « Making Hay

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