Sunday, November 6, 2011

Darth Vader vs. Jean-Luc Picard

Today's post looks at two leaders. 

In the red corner, the leader of the Galactic Empire, the master of the dark side of the force, and general all around evil-doer, Darth Vader! 

What is Darth Vader's leadership style like?  He rules through fear.  He achieves his goal through either terrifying his enemies or terrifying his team members.  People will follow his orders because they are afraid of how he will react, either belittling them, insulting them, hurting them emotionally, or even hurting them physically.  At worst, a mistake or failure with Darth Vader as your leader means you're often fired (or force choked to death).  More often than not he gets what he want, but his failures are massive, like when the Death Star was destroyed.  He is cunning, intelligent, and ruthless.  Often his expectations were so high they were unachievable.  There is nothing he won't do to achieve his goals, no matter how destructive they are.

In the Blue Corner!  The captain of the infamous Starship Enterprise, the master of diplomacy, and near-admiral of the Federation of Planets.  Captain Jean-Luc Picard!

Captain Picard commands through his respect.  He is highly moral, logical, and intelligent.  He makes his decisions with input from all of his trusted advisers and closest crew.  He considers their inputs and helps them to shape his opinions to make his ultimate decision.  People will follow his orders because they respect him and he respects them.  Picard will use his crew's mistakes as a learning experience and chance to improve.  More often than not Picard gets what he wants through diplomacy and debate, rather than war and violence.  He acknowledges good performance, builds confidence, and has high expectations for his crew.  He is cunning, intelligent, and extremely patient.  


So why am I blogging about this?  I have had bosses of both styles.  My last boss was a Darth Vader type.  She watched you constantly so that she could catch you making a mistake and harm you mentally for your mistakes.  People would get afraid when she was around.  She always got her way and never truly considered anybody's input.  She truly was ruthless and yet the failure of the organization is becoming steadily and painfully more obvious (a.k.a. the first Death Star). She was Darth Vader unmasked (minus the killing people part).

I've also had a Picard like Boss.  My first boss after graduating college was extremely patient, intelligent, and considered everybody's input, even if he did disagree with them.  His decisions were patiently made, calm, and rational.  I respected him, he respected me, and as a result we achieved great things.  He let me take the initiative and take on projects of my own idea, but if they were truly bad ideas and I didn't see it, he wouldn't hesitate to tell me.  He had high, achievable expectations for me, and would acknowledge my good performance, building up my confidence as a result. 

Who are these people?  

The first (Vader Boss) was the principal of a public school.  I was one of her teachers.

The second (Picard Boss) was the Manager of an AmeriCorps volunteer program.  I was one of his team members.

I find that most of the Vader bosses are driven by profit, money, and data driven results.  The principal?  All of her decisions were essentially, "How will MY decision increase test scores?", and "How can I save and make more money for this school.?"  Oh, and I almost forgot, but "How do I get more publicity for this school?".

I find the most of the Picard bosses are driven by their ideals, morals, and value driven results.  The volunteer manager?  All of his decisions were essentially, "How will OUR actions affect the recipients of our volunteer work?" and "How can WE stay true to our values?" and "How will the TEAM give these kids what it is they need?".

I would like to know (and if you are willing to share your profession as well), what type of boss do you have now?  What type of boss have you had more often?  If you are your own boss, what type of leader are you?


note:  Lets think of the 1% for a moment.  What type of leaders do you think they are?  Yea...

1 comment:

  1. I knew who you were talkin about before the reveal. It really is that bad, and I think you hit the nail on the noggin.