Thursday, 10 September 2009

Darth Vader as a Leader

From BA Business Life Magazine:

Darth Vader

HR would have a field day with the Star Wars villain, what with his bullying and torture of staff who displease him. Not to mention the corporate responsibility and PR problems that go along with building something called the Death Star. But the Dark Lord of the Sith can teach us a bit about modern management if we dig deep enough.

He created a cult of leadership where many of his underlings were completely devoted to him, excusing his occasional lapses of mood — a strategy that stood Apple boss Steve Jobs in good stead as he created an empire built on cutting edge, planet-changing technology.

Creating an air of mystery can also help to increase your authority. If people can’t read your face and don’t know what you’re thinking, they can experience an uncomfortable sensation that puts them on the back foot — perhaps US Vogue editor Anna Wintour’s famous bob and huge dark glasses were influenced by Darth back in the 1970s…

Darth, like any good leader, is decisive, swift to act, has a variety of skills (he doesn’t just sit behind a desk, he gets out and flies a fighter ship alongside his junior pilots) and is driven by an insatiable desire to succeed.

On the downside, he managed to let family issues cloud his judgement and, in the end, revealed himself as a sentimental pussycat and showed a modicum of remorse as the empire crumbled. Sometimes, you just can’t let the mask slip.

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