7 Times Parks And Rec Gave Us The Best Team Building Tips

Parks and Recreation, a show created by Michael Schur, still continues to amaze, inspire, and entertain its fans, even after 5 years since it ended. Other than the amazing writing and screenplay, the show still has a lot to offer. Most importantly though, the show portrays a usual workspace quite accurately. And one thing we can all learn from Parks and Rec is how even after all their differences, the office worked as a team and not against each other. Here are 6 ways that Parks and Rec tackled team conflicts in their workspace and how we can learn from them as well:

Maintaining balance in a team

Sometimes in teams, people take up more responsibilities than they can possibly handle to do things their way. This can cause a lot of issues in the team. Parks and Rec offer a solution in the episode Sweet Sixteen (season 4, ep 16) when Leslie realizes she’s burning out because of all her commitments. In this episode, Ron Swanson says to Leslie, “Never half-ass two things, whole-ass one thing.” This simple piece of advice has honestly gone a long way for me when I realized that I’m in a team for a reason; i.e. to maintain a balance in our tasks.

Maintaining balance - Parks And Rec


In the episode London Part 2 (season 6, ep 2), Leslie finds that she does not receive as much acknowledgment and gratitude from her team as compared to the amount of work she puts in to help her coworkers. Often, this can be quite a realization for the team leaders which can further affect the efficiency of a team. But one brutal fact we all need to realize if we’re working in a corporate setting is that expecting accreditation for our work will only disappoint us. Unfortunately, in a workspace, we perform work for the sake of the work, and rarely for acknowledgment.

Leadership - Parks and Rec

Enthusiasm: Leslie vs Ron

Ron and Leslie both have different management styles. Where Leslie is an enthusiastic leader, Ron is quite the opposite. According to him, saying no lowers his employee’s enthusiasm, which is a win for him. Looking at it from an organizational point of view, Ron’s style of management does not always work well in a workspace as it can make coworkers dejected. Make sure you don’t follow Ron’s way of leading a team!

Personality conflicts

We saw how personality differences can cause conflicts in a team when the Eagleton city employees had to merge with the existing Pawnee staff. It is clear that both the staffs are not compatible with the other which causes difficulties in the workspace. This is a huge lesson for real-life workspaces and teams. Departments should always have a plan intact for every unseen case so that they can stay prepared. Team leaders should always be prepared for personality conflicts among members and should have activities to eliminate further conflicts.

Personality conflicts

A little praise goes a long way

In Parks and Rec, we see very often how Leslie amps up her employees and coworkers by praise. This is a very important trick that can encourage your team members to be more productive. Work can be a lot tricky, so a little praise by team leaders and even coworkers can inspire members and drive them to work harder.


Freedom to mess up

Not everyone can be perfect all the time. Employees make mistakes as much as any other person. An important lesson from the set of Parks and Rec that we can learn from is that the cast was allowed to improvise, which just made the show more entertaining to watch.

At the end of the day, we should all remember that the people working with us are human as well, and our behavior affects theirs a lot. The important thing to learn is what we can do to positively influence their behavior.

Zahra Rehman

Social science undergrad and amateur artist who has a soft spot for cats, dogs and philosophy.

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