16 teamwork lessons from “Breaking Bad”

AMC’s Breaking Bad has turned into one of the greatest water cooler shows in recent memory – and, yes, there are studies to suggest that your business benefits when your employees connect over common interests like a meth-dealing science teacher. But even beyond the camaraderie it offers, the show teaches us some valuable teamwork lessons. (A few spoilers follow.)

1a. Odd couples often make great business partners.
1b. The right business attire can have a powerful psychological effect – not just on your coworkers or customers, but on yourself.

Teamwork lessons from Breaking Bad

2. Break away from sterile conference rooms. Find a workplace that works for you.


3. Losing your temper today will probably come back to haunt you.

Tempers will flare sometimes. It’s good to stand your ground, but take a breath before sending that devastating email or storming out of the meeting. Learn how to build a “culture of credit” instead of a culture of competition.

Hank and Jesse

4. If you’re a boss or manager – if you are The One Who Knocks – you need to recognize the red flags of discontent on your team.

Skyler drowning

5. Different departments have different priorities, but they all should share a top priority: your customers. Know them.


 6. Don’t be fenced in by your job title – and don’t make the mistake of judging others based on theirs.


 7. Never underestimate the bridge-building benefits of free food.
Jesse and pizza
8. Lying about botching a business task – like lying about poisoning a child – can get you out of a short-term jam, but it will catch up to you.
Jesse and Walt
9. Solve the problems no one else wants to solve and you will enjoy supreme job security.
10. The best person for the job isn’t always the person with the best resume.

We recently got some great tips about hiring the right collaborators from business psychology professor Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic. “If you are relying on interviews to select candidates, you will almost certainly end up with the wrong person,” he said.

Walt and Gale

11. Make time to escape work together – but don’t think that a happy hour will solve all your collaboration problems.
Walt and Jesse having beers
12. Remember that coworkers have their own lives and may be facing considerable personal challenges.

This applies to difficult clients and customers, too. And vendors. And even your bosses.

Walt and Walt Jr

13. Be generous with your knowledge. And even if what you’re learning today seems monotonous, it may come in really handy some day.

Walt in classroom

14. Even if you burn all your bridges and turn out to be a collabohater, you will still be able to find a fresh start*.

Walter starting over

15. *OK, maybe not.

Walter - Heisenberg

16. Always make time for a little fun at the office.

(You didn’t think you were getting out of here without the internet’s favorite GIF, did you?)

Jesse dancing

Post by Adam McKibbin

Adam McKibbin is the content marketing manager for iMeet Central. His writing has been featured in Adweek, the Chicago Tribune and The Nation, and he’s produced content for some of the leading tech brands on the Fortune 500.