Posted on Wed, Jun 8, 2016 @ 11:30 AM by Jorge Padua
Leadership inspires us; it motivates us; it also, if executed properly, drives us to be better workers and people. But it takes more than marching orders and a fancy upper-level management title to be a true leader.
Perhaps the Star Wars series has as much to teach us about leading as it does not leading. You can easily compare Darth Vader’s leadership to Obi-Wan’s and be able to pick apart what worked and what didn’t: i.e. leading with fear versus leading with respect.
Their methods were quite different, but these overarching themes can teach a lot about what constitutes great leadership. That way, you can take steps to implement the right leadership skills in your workplace--all in time for dinner at the Rebel base.
Don’t Fall into Bad Habits
As Admiral Ackbar would say, “It’s a trap!”
Try to avoid the following bad habits:
- Upsetting the balance of delegation vs. doing.
- Holding certain tasks to be “above” you.
- Being a boss and not a leader.
- Only negatively reinforcing workers.
- Yelling, berating, threatening, and/or intimidating others.
While Darth Vader may be proud of you for these, let’s just say his tactics didn’t end so well. People don’t respect those they fear; in fact, they won’t feel they are part of the team, and will most likely give less-than-stellar performance.
There’s a better way than Force-choking someone to incentivize them to do a great job.
Great Leadership Yields Great Results
Let’s face it--people want to be treated like people. Anyone can attest that they’ll try that much harder for someone they admire and look up to than someone they cower from.
Let’s explore a few traits of great leadership that have been demonstrated in the Star Wars series:
- Trust: knowing you can rely on your employees to do a great job--and trusting the right talent was hired to do so!
- Authenticity: be yourself, and don’t try to puff out your chest to be something you’re not
- Acknowledgment: tell employees when they’re doing a great job; that way, they feel invested and respected. It’s not just always about you, but the team.
- Mindfulness: be aware of how you behave in the workplace, and be willing to observe how you can adjust your shortcomings.
- Experience is more important than unwritten laws!: Master Yoda always maintained his position even when he was being influenced, by others. He always believed Anakin’s training would be a problem and he only chose to keep his training to honor Qui Gon’s death wish. It ended up being a mistake.
Surely you can think of more characters that exuded these traits (or didn’t). If you’re struggling with this, make sure you find the right counsel that you can confide in to improve. If great leadership was easy, then everyone would be doing it!
We hope you will take some of these traits to heart and start implementing them with yourself and others. To learn more about the Force of great leadership and creating a conducive atmosphere for employees, feel free to check out our guide on creating a remarkable experience! And, as always, may the Force be with you.