Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Crash course in leadership (Courtesy: Star Trek)

While watching a re-run of Star Trek Into Darkness on TV yesterday, I was particularly struck by a 2 min sequence that in my opinion so eloquently encapsulates all the essential elements of leadership.Perhaps if all people managers were made to watch this clip every work morning there won't be any need for organizations to spend thousands of dollar on leadership training!!

This brief 2.4 minute video packs a number of leadership lessons viz.
  1. Delegate - Kirk doesn't even blink before handing over the charge of the Enterprise to Mr. Sulu 
  2. Trust - Kirk not only hands over the Enterprise to Sulu but also trusts his abilities enough to authorize him to deal directly with Harrison
  3. Coach - Kirk doesn't leave Sulu to fend for himself, he also coaches him on what needs to be done and guides him when it needs to be done (while on his way to Kronos)
  4. Inspire confidence - When Sulu looks a bit diffident about taking charge, Kirk explicitly expresses confidence in his abilities making Sulu believe that he can command the Starship
  5. Back your people - When Dr. McCoy raises doubt about Sulu's ability, Kirk is quick to quell all doubts ensuring Sulu gets all the required support from the Starship leadership (in this case McCoy)
  6. Be the Guru - There was no way Sulu would have performed so marvelously had he had not seen Kirk doing it so many times. Sulu knew the drill (the tone, the verbiage and the manner) well to deliver it to perfection all because he got trained by watching Kirk in action. This is the most important lesson in leadership - Leaders need to deliver results multiple times (so that their team can learn and also to set benchmarks) before they start expecting the same result from them.
More than Sulu, Kirk deserves a full ten-on-ten for Sulu's remarkable leadership here!!