Leadership and Star Wars

In Leadership by Brock Bourgase

After a second viewing of Revenge of the Sith, I wanted to comment about the leadership styles of the Jedi and the Sith. The Jedi alienate Anakin Skywalker when they cease to model the way and ask him to spy on the Supreme Chancellor. The Jedi Council distrusts Palpatine and his motives but their clandestine actions render Skywalker more susceptible to the overtures by Darth Sidious.

Meanwhile, Palpatine senses Skywalker’s needs for self-actualisation, loving and belonging, and power and speaks to them. In Skywalker’s mind, the Chancellor has enabled him to reach his potential, in contrast to the rules and dogma of the Jedi. Darth Sidious motivates Skywalker differently than Darth Maul or Darth Tyrannus and he engenders great loyalty in his future employee as a result.

Employees are happy when they feel that their talents are valued, they value their organisation, and they feel that they organisation is valued by others. Palpatine encourages Skywalker’s abilities, undermines his feelings for the Jedi Order, and nurtures his allegiance to the Galactic Republic/Empire.

Palpatine’s remark, “Good is a point of view,” is a pertinent reminder to keep perspective. Darth Sidious may be one of the most evil fictional characters ever, but he makes an effort to practice good leadership and reaps the benefits – at the expense of his soul and billions of lives.