We all know Darth Vader from the Star Wars movies. He is the tyrannical, imposing, dark, powerful, and half-machine villain. However, if we are able to look past his darker qualities, there might be some valuable lessons that we can learn to help us better manage our business.
Truths are truths regarless of the source. Extracting some from a Dark Lord of The Sith, may seem strange on the surface, but there can be no doubt that he was an effective leader in his organization. I have detailed here 5 lessons that we can take away from Darth Vader.
- Self-Confidence - One thing that we know for sure about Darth Vader that he is confident . What can we glean from his self-confidence? Let's take a look. Here is a man that was so badly burned and mangled that he had to undergo extensive reconstructive surgery and prosthesis just to stay alive. However, in Vader we see a man that knows how to persevere. Did near death and mutilation stop him? Not in the least. Life gave him lemons and he turned right around and made lemonade out of the galaxy.
- Don't Be Afraid to Take Matters Into Your Own Hands - Often, we are encouraged as business owners to delegate business tasks to others. However, there is the danger of becoming disconnected from our work if we remain un-involved for too long. In Darth Vader we witness the head of a very large empire that is not afraid to get his hands dirty. Don't you think that Storm trooper in the back could just as easily handle that rebel scum? Of course he could, but Darth Vader decides to set the example himself. In the process, he is also showing his leadership qualities to his employees.
- Don't Be Afraid To Take Off Your Mask - In business, it is often the role of the leader to keep appearances and not show instability so that those in business with you don't lose confidence. This is a true statement, but every leader needs breathing room. We need close trusted individuals that we can trust with which to take down our guards. At the end of Vader's life, we see a leader that is willing to admit failure. He is exposed and vulnerable. Now, in Vader's case he realized this a bit too late, but he still has the good grace to face the one he trusts, his son Luke Skywalker, mask-less and unashamed to admit he, maybe, made some mistakes
- Remember There Is Always Someone Greater Than You - As our businesses grow and become successful, it is easy to start thinking that we have reached the top. Just remember, there is always a bigger fish than you. Darth Vader, an accomplished Dark Lord in his own right, still has the humble quality to bow before his master and mentor. The fact that his master and mentor is as evil as they come is another matter entirely. Nonetheless, this man of high stature still knows his place in the universe.
- Maintain a Strong and Professional Image - In business, your image holds a lot of value. The ability to be professional in demeanor and personal appearance can be very helpful when establishing your credibility. Note the highly polished suit and helmet that Darth Vader wears. Not only does this say, "I am an intimidating and ruthless overlord", it also says, "I respect myself and my work enough to show it on the outside."
For all his flaws, Darth Vader is still a man with a lot to offer. Sure, maybe he is a little rough around the edges, but that doesn't mean that he is devoid of qualities from which we can all learn. Beneath all that intimidation, terror, genocide, and ill-temper we can uncover some of the basic qualities that make a good leader.