Go ahead, sue me. I confess, I’m not one of the 10.5 million viewers who tuned in for the season three finale of ABC’s Scandal. Don’t all gasp at once.
You see, I’ve tried to jump on the Scandal bandwagon several times. When the first season was over, I remember spending one afternoon reclined with my laptop and a glass of wine, catching up. I got through four episodes, only a few distractions. Then something else caught my attention. Both the next season and the one after that, I tried to watch in real-time. (searches for word other than “epic”) Fail. But I watched enough episodes to know I could learn a thing or two from Ms. Olivia Pope.
Never mind the tangled mess she got herself involved in, sleeping with the married President of the United States. And I disregarded my one pet peeve: those long-winded, fast-spoken monologues that seemed to pop up in script every five minutes. (Gladiators, don’t hurt me now.) Despite the little kinks and its inability to hold me for a full season, I think Scandal is a good show. I know what you’re thinking, that doesn’t sound like what I would’ve said next. But really, a drama series with a black female lead going toe-to-toe with the best of them is a pretty awesome thing. Most impressive is how Miss Thing handles herself when there’s a job to be done. That much I’ve been paying attention to.
- Kill ‘Em With Confidence: Olivia is a smart cookie, able to effectively outwit her opponents and it shows. When you’ve got a prominent position at work, such as leading a team, the stakes are high and it’s easy to second-guess yourself and get overwhelmed with self-doubt. Olivia’s confidence in her abilities enables her to communicate effectively with her clients and to lead her team. She also understands how important it is to dress for success. I know I’m not the only one who tunes in just to take notes on her sharp, sleek and chic wardrobe.
- Live Up To Your Reputation: Through her years of successes and hard work, she has built a reputation of being excellent at what she does. Once you’re on the clock, you must be excellent at what you do to excel within your business. No excuses. This takes time and experience, and the ability to build great relationships with your clients/customers as well as your team members. Before you step into a new job these days, chances are your co-workers and bosses have already checked you out online. You probably came with high recommendation, so try your best to live up to what’s written on your resume.
- Lead The Way: Olivia Pope is one of the best female leaders I’ve seen on television. She’s not just good at telling people what to do, but a master at delegating. Admittedly, this has been the toughest for me to get a good handle of over the years; I have a tendency to feel like I have to do everything or be an expert at everything. “If you want something done right, you do it yourself,” somebody lied to me. That’s not always the case – and a pretty junior mistake. Olivia surrounds herself with people who are experts in various areas. If you are always the one “carrying the team” it’s not a team worth being on.
- Control Yourself: 8 times out of 10 Olivia has it together. Or so she makes it seem. You can even hear it in the way she speaks during a crisis – that calm-like monotone, her voice hardly ever climbing in pitch. Olivia’s job is to maintain control of a situation, the media, and/or people at all times. Naturally, that isn’t always possible. In season three, we see another side of Olivia, where her emotions get in the way and cloud the spot-on good judgment she’d become known for. Remember that when situations and people in your immediate environment swerve completely out of control, sometimes the only saving grace you have to get to your end game is you. No a-tti-tude, no fingersnapping.
- Make A Decision and Stand By It: Poor decision-making is all around us. We now live in a world where it’s excused and celebrated on reality TV. Olivia Pope makes sure she has all or, at the very least, most of the best information possible in order to make a decision. She (or a member of her team) does extensive research on each subject matter they are faced with. The same should apply in real life. I used to battle with choices in my head and try to avoid being the one to have to make the tough decision – and I sure didn’t want to be the one to deliver any bad news. There’s no such avoidance in a management position. You can’t always be a people-pleaser. It pays to be decisive. The outcome may not always be in your favour, however you can spare yourself a world of hassle by making informed decisions and not worrying about what others may think.