08/21/2013 03:48 pm ET Updated Aug 22, 2013

7 Reasons Tami Taylor Is Your Office Spirit Animal


There's a lot we can learn from fictional women. And who better to dole out life lessons than Tami Taylor, brilliantly played by Connie Britton on "Friday Night Lights?"

Throughout the series, Coach Taylor's wife navigated numerous challenges in her home and professional life, staying true to herself the whole time. (She also managed to have flawless hair throughout everything.) As an advocate for her students -- and especially young women -- Taylor exemplifies what it means to be not just good at your job, but also loved for doing it.

Here are seven things working women can learn from Tami Taylor -- and some recommended viewing for anyone drawn to re-watch the FNL highlights:

1. It is possible to kill your enemies with kindness. Amelia McDonell-Parry at The Frisky described Tami's leadership style as “an iron fist of flowers" -- she knows exactly how to get people to say yes. Case in point: when she talked Landry into tutoring Tim Riggins.

Recommended viewing: Season 2, Episode 7.

2. If you're demoted, handle it with grace. Making the best of what you're given in this kind of situation demonstrates serious grit. Renee Sylvestre-Williams at Forbes offers a number of tips for what to do when you're demoted: document everything, stay professional and ask about improvement -- basically everything Tami did when she was demoted from principal of West Dillon High to the new guidance counselor at East Dillon.

Recommended viewing: Season 5, Episode 1.

3. Defend yourself without sounding defensive. Being patient and avoiding throwing out direct accusations are two Tami Taylor tactics we could all take to heart. When she faced some controversial -- and potentially career-ending -- accusations from the school board in Season 4, she managed to stay calm under pressure. Her situation resolved itself more easily as a result.

Recommended viewing: Season 4, Episode 12.

4. Sometimes, it's just your turn. Your turn to be the breadwinner, your turn to go back to school, your turn to follow your dream job. Yes, making any kind of significant life change will require difficult conversations with those around you-- remember all the tension in the Taylor household when Tami was offered the Dean of Admissions job in Philadelphia? But confronting those realities head on instead of tiptoeing around them or letting resentment build up will always pay off.

Recommended viewing: Season 5, Episode 12.

5. Good things happen when you cheer other people on. Thanks to Mrs. Taylor, the formerly wayward Tyra ended up graduating and going to college. No matter how frustrating your coworkers or employees may be, encouraging them to bring out the best in themselves will benefit everyone. Boosting morale boosts productivity!

Recommended viewing: Season 3, Episode 2.

6. Everything is worth a conversation. Even when it seems like the case is closed, there's something to be said for talking through a new plan, change or proposal. The principal at East Dillon was rarely thrilled to discuss the budget or the homework club with Tami, but she made those talks happen and effected real change.

Recommended viewing: Season 5, Episode 2.

7. Don't apologize when you don't need to. Tami's refusal to apologize for helping Becky Sproles in Season 5 was one of the most stubborn things she did -- and though it cost her, it was ultimately the right decision. Studies have suggested that women apologize more than men, and unnecessarily so. In a February 2013 piece for Jezebel, writer Karyn Polewaczyk suggested that women collectively "ditch our guilt complexes and inner Pollyannas."

Recommended viewing: Season 4, Episode 13.

So when you find yourself in a bind, take a moment to ask yourself: "What would Tami Taylor do?"


Connie Brittons Style Evolution
Connie Brittons Style Evolution