HR Leadership Sesame Street Style: Who Would Be Your HR Manager?


December 23, 2009

I found another blast from the past to share.  This was a fun post I did earlier in the year and since we’re all in some kind of holiday mode, I thought we should have a little fun today.  Be sure to comment at the end so we know who would be YOUR ideal HR manager.


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. Employees could easily take advantage of Big Bird if he were the HR manager.  I think he could do a great job with employee benefits though because he would be patient and kind when explaining everything.

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.  He could be a great HR team member, but definitely not the leader.

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 or CFO 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?


  • YAY! Kernit is ny favorite too! Thanks for the blast from the past Trish!

  • Definately Elmo. He understands that every email brings valuable information. Last time I checked though he was tied to that giant desk top. Can a muppet make the transition to an iPhone??

  • I’d go with Grover. Sure he looks clumsy sometimes, but that just make him more accessible. But when the situation calls for heroics, he turns into Super Grover! With the cape, or without, Grover gets my vote. 🙂

  • I think Kermit proved his worthiness when he stepped away from Sesame Street and was in charge at “The Muppet Show” – a true leader. Sort of like a job rotation assignment. His one area for development: he needs to tone down his tendency to get a tad high strung and overly-emotional.

    The Count, however, could bring more of the finance/numbers savvy that often times HR leaders lack…..

  • You know what I’d like to see? A LEGAL department filled with ERNIEs. Ernie’s actually very sharp and conceptual, and knows just how far he can push someone (usu Bert) before they break. A person like that would know how to use the law to support the human element rather than replace it.

    …which would make an HR Bert tolerable.

  • :::MEANT TO BE SUNG:::
    Have I told you lately, that you’re brilliant

    This is amazing. When I was a toddler not much could calm me down. Fortunately for my parents, Sesame Street and the Muppets did the trick.

    Honestly, I’m leaning towards The Count for me personally. He only cares about numbers, and has no idea what he’s even counting about. Let’s look further into my reasoning

    1 – Everyone knows that HR needs to quantify ourselves and that we “hate” numbers. Well, hello Count, you just found yourself a spot at “the table”.

    2 – I’m pretty sure that I could have him start counting up the number of raises I should receive in one day. 1 ah ah ah 2 ah ah ah 3 ah ah ah 4 ah ah ah and up it goes. More raises please.

    3 – Look around you, what do you see? Vampires are everywhere… They are on HBO, in books, in the movies…people apparently love vampires. People will love this guy…

    This ruled. I’m smiling.

  • Bert. His matter of fact no nonsense business sense will result in results and help bolster the reputation of HR with the rest of the organization

  • Having the good fortune of a 7 year old running the home, the Sesame Street Shows were my daily staple as our Jade at 4 years old had me fixated on the congenial but adept at juglar strikes Kermit. Disarmed by his smile and set up by his strenght of character he always managed to handle himself effectively. That describes the four HR Kermits I have worked for.

    Though I speak as a Workplace Security Management Consultant my choice in the consumate HR leader is Kermt. Whether it is a natural gravitational pull or the luck of the draw, I found the HR Directors I’ve worked with gutsy, honest, committed and engaged. I got to go with Kermit as the model HR Director of my preference.

  • Wow! Some interesting choices for who you would select for your HR manager. I guess that shows that each of us needs a different type of person to help us feel comfortable, engaged, guided, and developed.

    @Shennee, @Shauna, @Felix, @Robin- I see that we’re all alike in choosing Kermit. Although, according to Robin, maybe we need to take lessons/training from the Count.

    @Frank and @Darren- Bert is definitely a “no nonsense” choice. He’d certainly whip the HR department into shape.

    @Jason- I laughed out loud at the thought of a bunch of Ernie’s in the legal department.

    @HR Mark- Maybe Elmo needs an iPhone app.

    @Lindsay I totally forgot about Super Grover. Hmmm…that may make him a better candidate.

    @Rich- Love your argument for the Count. Have you considered life in the legal field? 🙂

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About Trish

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


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