How to Channel Your Inner Leslie Knope Leadership Skills

Source: NBC
Leslie Knope, a character on the NBC sitcom "Parks and Recreation," is an enthusiastic government employee in Pawnee, IN. Her main goal in life is to be the best deputy director for the town she is so passionate about.

[Spoiler alert!] Because of her strong will and inspiring drive, she eventually becomes governor of Indiana, demonstrating that no goal is too big. Simultaneously, she motivates everyone around her to be their best selves. After rewatching this show a couple (or six) times, we've gathered some of Leslie's most empowering quotes to bring out your powerhouse leadership skills!

"Positive is always better than negative."


Knope exudes happy vibes and unlike her last name, she rarely says no, because there is nothing she can't do. Well, she can't pick a salad over waffles, but that's because waffles equal happiness! An example of her positivity? After hearing nothing but negativity at an open forum, she said, "What I hear when I'm being yelled at is people caring loudly at me."

If you can think that positively, it'll be hard for things to bring you down in the office. Remember, attitudes are contagious! As a leader, there will always be eyes watching how you react to tough situations and how you handle things. Positivity also helps productivity flourish, which leads us to our next Knope-ism.

"There is nothing we can't do if we work hard, never sleep and shirk all other responsibilities in our lives."


In one episode, Knope is feeling quite disoriented, mentioning that she slept seven hours, which is double what she normally gets. While we don't recommend cutting down on your Zzz's or shirking responsibilities, we do think her motivational quote is admirable. 

Not only is it important to keep yourself motivated, it's also crucial to understand what motivates your employees. Are they motivated by money like Tom Haverford? Treat yo'self! Or are they more like Jerry (aka Garry, Larry and Terry), preferring to spend time off with family? Whether you ask them straight up or see what works well with trial and error, identifying what pushes them forward every day will ultimately make you more successful and motivated. And remember  they won't all have the same motivations.

"We have to remember what's important in life. Friends, waffles and work. Or waffles, friends, work. But work has to come third."


Leslie Knope loves her job more than anyone could possibly love a job. For example, in one episode, she receives two weeks of probation. One night while on probation, she breaks into the office to do some work because she can't stand not working. Even loving her job that much, she recognizes that she's human and can make time for waffles and friends too.

You're probably thinking, "Waffles could never be more important than a job." And you're probably right. Waffles don't pay the bills. This quote is important, though, because it reminds us to take some time to relax! A stressed leader is a bad leader. Your employees will notice if you're tense (sometimes because you're taking it out on them, unfortunately). If you take a break every now and then to recharge, your employees will thank you.

We hope this post reminds you to stay positive, work hard and relax! Be the Leslie Knope of whatever you do.