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This Prop from an Iconic 90's Movie Showed Me How to Break the Corporate Mold, and Be a Better Boss It takes courage to do things differently.

By Kate Matheny

This story appears in the January 2024 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Courtesy of Kate Matheny

In the '90s, I got my first management job in the public accounting department at Deloitte. As a woman leading a team in a male-dominated industry, I was intimidated. I knew it would be easier to stick with the status quo — implementing a monotonous, bureaucratic office culture for my team. But I also knew this kind of management was ineffective and resulted in unmotivated, disgruntled employees.

So I decided to take a risk and do things differently. I built a collaborative environment that highlighted my team members' unique skills and diverse perspectives. I thought it was effective, but I wasn't sure how my team actually felt about it — until years later, when I left for another industry job. At my goodbye party, my team gave me a Swingline red stapler.

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