HR Leadership Sesame Street Style: Which HR Manager Would You Choose?


June 8, 2009

So, I’ve been on vacation a few days and since I have two little ones, I’ve had a bit of Sesame Street time.  While watching today, the thought popped in my head, I wonder which character would make the ideal HR manager.  Now, I must admit, that since I’m a working mom, I do not watch enough Sesame Street to know every character.  In fact, most are those I remember from over 30 years ago when I watched the show myself.  At any rate, here is my analysis:

sesame street

(Photo from

Big Bird– Big Bird is a dreamer.  He is nice, but often too much so.  People could easily take advantage of Big Bird.

Elmo-Cute, cute, cute.  Elmo is so happy and would certainly be well-liked and popular.  Does that sound like any HR person you know?  I didn’t think so. 

Ernie– Ok, Ernie is someone who tries hard.  He tries to figure things out.  He takes risks.  However, Ernie always has to rely on someone else.  Bert.  A good HR manager should not always have to rely on someone else in order to make a decision or a recommendation. 

Bert– Bert is smart.  He is very practical and matter-of-fact.  Bert is easily annoyed.  Not really much of a people person.  I don’t think he’d survive very long in HR.  He would probably make a great tax accountant though.

Oscar the Grouch– Now, Oscar has no potential in HR.  If a HR manager slammed his/her door (or trash can lid as the case may be) at every person that walked by, well… know it just wouldn’t work.

The Count– One termination, two terminations, three terminations, four terminations.  The number of the day is FOUR!  Ha ha ha.  (Nope!  Don’t think that would work at all.)

Telly Monster– Telly is always completely confused.  I think he’d be better suited for another line of work.

Grover– Like Elmo, Grover is cute and happy.  He is by far a people pleaser.  He also is clumsy and makes many mistakes and misjudgments.  Not a good HR combo.

While those characters each have interesting characteristics that would benefit a HR manager, I think the clear cut winner in my book has to be……..(drum roll please)…………………….

kermitKermit the Frog.- Kermit is sweet, but firm.  He is always a leader.  He likes the other characters to be happy but is not afraid to push back (especially on Miss Piggy).  Kermit is friendly, approachable, and smart.  He’s quite worldly and always seemed most like an adult.  Kermit is a good listener and helps others.

So, that’s my take.  What do you think?  Who would make the best HR manager in your company?


  • Great post! I watched my share of Sesame Street and while I don’t think he has much potential, I always liked Telly Monster. At the end of the day, all the characters really do care about each other, (even Oscar) so maybe they all have some kind of role in HR.

    • @steve You’re right about each character having some kind of role in HR. I like the way @Tim even gave an example of who the Sesame Street characters equate to on a team he works with.
      @Lisa I can see how you would like Miss Piggy. She is definitely strong but does have a bit of softness to her once in awhile.

  • I think what makes Kermit good is his relationship with the others. He would not be Kermit without the diversity of the rest of the street – he’d be just another frog. I had a staff on one assignment that included Oscar (the labor relations manager), Elmo (a benefits admin), and the Count(training). We worked well as a team. With the right players, Grover can lead.

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A former HR executive and HCM product leader with over 20 years of experience.


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