Our family loves watching Andy Griffith episodes on Netflix. I grew up watching the reruns with my dad, uncles, and grandpa on TBS or TNT. The show never loses its nostalgia for me. In modern days, I may look to Seinfeld or The Office for my fix, but I’ll never lose my love for Andy and Barney.
I’m speaking of the old black and white episodes of course, before Barney’s exit. Andy Griffith without Barney was like The Office without Michael Scott. It worked, but it just wasn’t the same.
Given that it’s 4 degrees in Louisville, and thus Netflix season, my family has been binging on Andy again. When I watch with my kids, I love that they get a good wholesome perspective on life. I wish more shows today mimicked Andy. As Andy is teaching his lessons to Barney, Opie, Aunt Bee, Goober, Gomer, Floyd, and others, he’s also always teaching us.
Since I’ve logged a good portion of screen time watching Andy throughout my life. I thought it was worth pointing out some of Andy’s greatest lessons on leadership that have influenced me.
1. Andy lived in the gray.
He rarely found black and white answers to many of the situations he encountered. I love finding black and white answers to life’s situations. Problem is, I hardly ever encounter ones that have a simple fix.
Usually, many of life’s issues live in the gray. As leaders, they require us to pause and reflect – to empathize and put ourselves in other’s shoes and show some compassion. Andy exemplified the ability to pause and reflect on each situation at hand. And how he approached them leads me to my second lesson.
2. Andy was a creative problem solver.
Being creative problem solvers is one of our 8 Core Values here at The Squad. We have some great team members who exemplify creative problem solving. I think Andy did this about as good as anyone I’ve ever seen – fictional or in real life.
Leaders are often called to solve large and complex problems. It’s just what people look to us to do. Andy often found himself in a situation that called for this trait. Whether he was bailing out Barney, disciplining Opie, or leading Aunt Bee, he was the ultimate creative problem solver.
3. Andy helped get the best out of those around him.
He looked for ways to give others the credit and he created environments where others could flourish. There’s no other explanation of how one could work with characters like Floyd, Gomer, Goober, of course, Barney, and even it’s me, it’s me, it’s Ernest T.
Andy could have taken back the reins from any of the above, but he worked hard to find ways to work with them, despite their ineptness at times.
Leaders at times must take charge, and Andy did so on many occasions. But they must also let go and create a path for others to grow and develop. Leaders have to get the best from others. I always liked the quote from Ronald Reagan, “Leadership is letting someone know their breath smells, without actually telling them.”
4. Andy was as comfortable with dignitaries and officials as he was with his common man.
Andy Griffith was a humble man who didn’t see himself as more than he was. I believe that’s why he’s been such a darling for so many years. The fact that generation after generation can relate to Andy, Barney, and their little town of Mayberry is quite impressive.
Leaders must be able to relate, serve, and lead all at the same time. Andy modeled this quite well. He would jump in next to his team, advocate for the least of these, and lead with wisdom when the situation called for it. Around The Squad, we always strive to operate as Servant Leaders to our partners and to others on our team.
In the coming weeks, we’ll continue talking about things like Leadership, Vision, and Core Values. Hopefully, amidst the busyness of life and business, a nugget will stick with you and make you better tomorrow than you were today.
If there’s a topic you’d like us to address, then leave a comment below or on social and we’ll move it to the top of the content calendar.