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  • Writer's pictureDr. Cristina DiPietropolo

Do or Do Not, There is No Try

There are plenty of ways to learn key leadership skills, and some of them might be a little more original than you think. Even the most abstract places can offer insights into the qualities of a great leader if you know what to look for. I’m a Star Wars Geek – the original Star Wars from the ’70s. I remember sitting in the movie theatre on opening day and feeling mesmerized by what I saw. Over the years, I’ve continued to rewatch those original three movies and continually see ways in which specific characters in the films can be relatable to business. In this article, we will explore some leadership traits that you can learn simply by watching the beloved Star Wars 1970’s series.

Don’t be Darth Vader—Take Calculated Risks


It isn’t a secret that Darth Vader is not necessarily the best example of leadership. While he might not be a shining example of what to aspire to, he can certainly teach us what to avoid. Time and time again, Darth Vader refuses to trust in his people. He is constantly living in a state of anticipation and fully counts on his subordinates to fail him. Good leaders take calculated risks, choose the right people for the right opportunities, and trust them to follow through.


Tips for Success:

  • Carefully select employees for tasks that you know they can handle.

  • Provide support and guidance for employees as needed rather than offering criticism or instilling fear in them.

  • Trust in your plans and the abilities of your team to execute those strategies, even if they are facing new challenges or reaching for new goals.

  • Work with your team to ensure that everyone is on the same page and has a clear understanding of what needs to be done. More importantly, explain the “Why” behind it.[1]

Avoid Getting Lost in a Galaxy Far, Far Away—Stop Thinking of Passing off Responsibilities as Delegating


Leaders are always responsible for delegating certain tasks, but some leaders can lose sight along the way. While it is easy to get caught up in the delegation cycle, it is important to keep your feet firmly planted on the ground. Your tasks are your own, and while delegating is a vital leadership skill every leader should possess, it shouldn’t be your default response.




Tips for Success:

  • Have an effective schedule so you can complete more tasks without needing to pass your responsibilities off on others.

  • Consider saying “no” when you as a leader are assigned tasks rather than simply handing them off to someone else. This requires you to speak up, something not many people are comfortable doing.[1]

  • Evaluate the workload your employees have before assigning them a task. Have a clear reason to pass off any responsibility before you ever consider doing it.

  • Don’t overpromise and develop unrealistic strategies.[2]

Be More Like Yoda—Be the Guide Who Helps Your Employees Not to Fail


Few leaders in the film are more inspiring than Yoda, who is known for his wise words, understanding, and high levels of experience in his field. Every time he is on screen, he provides guidance and support to those around him. These are the qualities of a great leader, and we should all aspire to meet this standard.





Tips for Success:

  • Keep an eye out for opportunities to provide guidance and support.[1]

  • Ask your employees how you can best support them in their efforts.

  • Take the time to learn how to best communicate with your team.

  • Offer advice, but never demand that they take it if they feel something else is a better choice.

  • Create a psychologically safe environment for your employees to speak up.

Conclusion

Leaders need to stop thinking that passing off responsibilities is delegating.[1] When you pass on your responsibilities to your employees simply because you are unable to complete them, the chances for them to succeed are slim,[1] and it could potentially damage morale within the organization. Be Yoda to your employees. Let them shadow you in your leadership role and encourage them to ask questions and learn from your approach. If you do this the right way, the result will be your ability to create a team that can step in and help when you are overwhelmed or not available. Not only will you be building a bench of strong successors, but those employees will also emulate your behaviors and pay it forward to their colleagues, creating more successors. This is what effective leadership creates!


We hope you enjoyed reading this article. While we've offered some advice on how to be an effective leader, we understand that leadership is multi-faceted and can be overwhelming. Sometimes you don't know where to start and need an expert to provide guidance. We can help you with that! Leader Essentials Group offers Leadership Development, including helping individuals inspire their teams and strengthening employee relations. Click here to learn more about our services or email us at info@leaderessentialsgroup.com to schedule a brief 15-minute conversation with us.

Dr. Cristina Rosario DiPietropolo is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer at Leader Essentials Group, an executive consulting firm focused on organizational effectiveness. Extensive experience across multiple industries and highly skilled in the areas of strategic planning, organizational behavior, human resource management, change management, leadership, and digital marketing. Over ten years of teaching experience as a Visiting Professor of Management, with a special focus on leadership in entrepreneurship, organizational behavior, and international management.

_________________________________________________________________________ [1] Markman, A. (2018). How to stop delegating and start teaching. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved December 3, 2021, from https://hbr.org/2018/10/how-to-stop-delegating-and-start-teaching [2] Carucci, R., & Lancefield, D. (2021). Every Leader Has Flaws. Don't Let Yours Derail Your Strategy. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved December 1, 2021, from https://hbr.org/2021/09/every-leader-has-flaws-dont-let-yours-derail-your-strategy

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