Leadership, as told by Miranda Priestly

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For those of you who haven’t seen “The Devil Wears Prada,” this won’t make much sense. For those with good taste, please enjoy.

Like her or hate her, Miranda Priestly is effective in her job.

What can we learn from the Devil herself? Plenty. For now, let’s focus on three things — never settle for less than the best, take care of your best and the most powerful voice is often the most soft-spoken. Read more below.

Never settle for less than the best.

Miranda Priestly [MP] expects the most out of the people who work under her because she knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to voice her disappointment, should someone fail to deliver. In the workplace, you’ll be on teams where people don’t always live up to your expectations and you’ll be forced to pick up the slack. MP shows us that sometimes you simply have to demand they stand and deliver. When it comes down to it, Andy shows that she not only can deliver the results Miranda expects but she goes above and beyond.  Her growth as a professional and her dedication to learning what Miranda expects far exceeded what she had initially expected.

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In a very powerful moment, Miranda is able to reduce Andy to tears by expressing her disappointment. Even though the task assigned was nearly impossible, it was Andy’s responsibility and she failed. Miranda expected the most and when it didn’t happen, her disappointment was well heard. There will be times in each professional’s life, as they climb the ladder of success, that they will be disappointed by those who report to them. The true moment of compassion is showing mercy in this moment and helping them to achieve more in the future. By working to cultivate others, you ensure your own success.

Take care of your best and they’ll take care of you; overwork them and they will leave.

Companies with the lowest turnover have the highest employee satisfaction, with the overall process of their leadership using positive reinforcement to reward employees rather than punishing them. The Wall Street Journal outlines that a main tactic for keeping turnover low is creating a positive environment. MP instills fear in her subordinates which creates a toxic environment around her. While she prefers this atmosphere, it is detrimental to those around her and breeds discourse. True leaders show strong compassion and kindness toward those they work with in order to cultivate skills and help strengthen weaknesses.

The turnover at Runway was practically a revolving door at the assistant desk. She was so harsh and strict on the behavior and production of her employees, that many of them left because of the sheer amount of stress incurred from their superior. Everyone has had a boss that pushes them too hard without any kind of incentive toward success, as well as had that leader that would have followed you into the seventh ring. What makes the difference between the two is the human element of caring about each and every member of your team and treating them as a valuable part of the organization.

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The most powerful voice is a soft-spoken one.

Not once in the entire movie does Miranda raise her voice — yet those around her will crane their heads to listen and hear every single word. That is influence — she speaks softly because she knows she will be heard. Although she appreciates the fact that she has power through fear, she is nonetheless effective.

A person who raises their voice is rarely heard because the sheer volume they use is deterrent to their message. When you speak, be gentle and calm — it’s guaranteed that you will more likely be heard. Often times it is the calm, soft spoken leaders who are the most respected.

Courtesy of giphy.com

Bryar Keyes is a senior public relations student at Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri. He is currently serving as the PRSSA National Vice President of Events and Fundraising for PRSSA’s 50th anniversary year, 2017-2018. Connect with him on LinkedIn and follow him on Twitter.

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