Bad Manager vs Good Manager: Hank Scorpio

Was Hank Scorpio, the eccentric CEO of Globex from The Simpsons, a bad or good manager? While one of many that managed Homer Simpson, I saw Hank Scorpio achieve something unique.

Hank Scorpio got Homer Simpson to care about his job.

How did Hank do this? What can we apply from his managerial skills to make ourselves better leaders?

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Good Manager Sign: Hank Scorpio Builds Trust with Authentic Relationships

From the moment we meet Hank, he builds trust with Homer. Hank takes time from his fun run to introduce himself. He brings a housewarming gift to The Simpsons. Hank wants Homer to know they wear the same moccasins.

Hank doesn’t care that The Simpsons come from a blue-collar background. Hank believes Homer is the best person he can find to lead the nuclear engineering team. To get the best work out of Homer, Hank needs to earn Homer’s trust. 

Hank builds trust by showing a genuine interest in Homer. He knew Homer’s name from the first moment. Hank saw that the entire family moved to Cypress Creek for Globex and welcomed them all.

But this was not the moment where Hank Scorpio earned Homer’s trust.

Hank earned Homer Simpson’s trust when he asked what Homer’s dream was. Homer dreams of owning the Dallas Cowboys. The Simpson family laughed at Homer for this dream. 

Hank does something different. 

He doesn’t laugh.

Hank respects Homer’s dream. Helping Homer achieve this goal will make Homer more engaged in his job.

How can We Build Trust like Hank Scorpio?

A sign of a good manager is earning the trust of their team. We’re only seen as leaders when we have the team’s support. 

A way to build trust is by showing a genuine interest in your teammates. Hank Scorpio does this by:

  • Making sure new employees feel welcomed and part of the team.
  • Paying attention to what the people around him want to achieve.
  • Not looking down on anyone. He respects people’s wishes and wants to help.

Ask yourself a few questions to see how you can build trust like Hank Scorpio:

  • What are the goals of each individual on your team?
  • What common topic do you share an interest in with each person on your team?
  • What can you do to help them achieve their goals in life?

Good Manager Sign: Hank Scorpio Supports His Employees

Hank is a great boss because he prioritizes supporting his employees. Hank drops what he’s doing whenever Homer needs help. Hank makes sure Homer has the tools to succeed.

Homer Simpson shaking Hank Scorpio's hand asking where he can find business hammocks.

Look at the hammocks scene. Hank is minutes away from declaring war on the world. This is a moment Hank has been working towards for years. Yet, when Homer enters his office, Hank puts his work aside to talk to his employee.

Hank doesn’t question why Homer needs hammocks. He trusts that Homer is doing his best to support his nuclear engineering team. All that Hank sees is that Homer doesn’t know how to achieve his goal.

I love the detail that comes after Hank sends Homer to the Hammock District. Hank directs Homer to find who invented the hammock. The origin of hammocks is one of the few assignments Hank gives Homer. He is teaching Homer how to find answers on his own.

How can Hank Scorpio’s support of his team help us?

Hank Scorpio is a servant leader.

Hank prioritizes the well-being of this team first. He makes sure his team has what they need to do their best work. It doesn’t matter to Hank if an employee needs hammocks to rest in or sugar for coffee. He makes sure they have the right tools.

Servant leadership is the thesis of this blog. Great leaders create environments for people to excel in. Good managers build stages their employees will perform on.

What environmental problems are preventing your team from doing their best work?

Good Manager Sign: Hank Scorpio Recognizes Hard Work

Hank Scorpio knows the Globex team is putting their lives on the line for his goal of…world conquest. He shows his appreciation for his employees’ work through Homer. 

  • When Homer tackles Bont, Scorpio immediately gives Homer positive feedback. He promises that a new level will added to Homer’s house.
  • Scorpio gifts Homer ownership of the Denver Broncos. Hank ties this reward to Homer’s contributions to Project Arcturus.

It’s rare for Homer to receive praise for his work. Hank recognizes Homer’s contributions and rewards him. I think these acts leave an impact on Homer.

How can we recognize our teams like Hank Scorpio?

Recognizing the work that people put into their job is meaningful. People are trying their best everyday at their job.

As managers, we need to show people that we see their effort. Letting others know the impact of their work builds trust.

The trick is learning how people want to receive recognition and what will be meaningful to them. Ask your reports for information on these topics in your 1-1s. This preparation will make it easy when the time comes to recognize your team’s work.

What traits make Hank Scorpio a Bad Manager?

As great of a manager Hank Scorpio is, he has one fault.

He’s a supervillain.

This is the joke of the episode! Homer’s traditional boss, Mr. Burns, is terrible. Yet, Mr. Burns provides a valuable service to Springfield.

Hank Scorpio is a leader who inspires people. We don’t know if he is transparent about the goal of Project Arcturus with his employees. Based on the evidence of the episode, Hank is not honest about his mission to rule the East Coast.

Hank Scorpio’s evil nature leads us to the ethical question of the episode. Is it ok to work for someone that will improve your life if your work harms others?

It’s a prescient question given the state of the world in 2021.

Hank Scorpio: Good Manager or Bad Manager?

Rating: Hank Scorpio is a Good Manager with a horrific vision

Given Hank Scorpio’s behavior as a boss, he’s a great manager. His work leads to Homer Simpson having a rare feeling.

Homer is proud of the work he’s doing. He tries to do a good job.

We can use the same techniques as Hank Scorpio to become better leaders:

  • Show genuine interest in each individual to build trust.
  • Support your team by giving them the resources to succeed.
  • Recognize the hard work of your team with positive feedback and material rewards.

I have a challenge for you though.

Given the ability to inspire others to follow you, what mark will you and your team leave on the world?

I hope it’s something more positive than seizing the East Coast.

What do you think of Hank’s leadership skills? Which character should I analyze next? Let me know on LinkedIn or Twitter.

Further Reading

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