Darth Vader is a ruthless leader who dresses in black, is part robot and is evil incarnate—but like many fictional characters there are a number of lessons we can learn from him.
For those who haven’t been binge watching Star Wars over the holiday break or been to see the latest instalment of the Star Wars saga – Rogue One, Darth Vader may not have been at the forefront of your mind but as a new year rolls around can we can look to this Sith Lord for advice?
Here are a few tips from everybody’s favourite Sith Lord:
1. Honesty is always the best policy.
The root of bad leadership is a lack of trust. People would rather be fed hard truth than think that their leader is unable to see the truth that really surrounds them, even when the situation is tough to digest.
When in doubt, be honest with yourself, your team and your wider staff. They will respect you more for it. Couple this with a vision forward and you have a winning combination.
2. Keep your word.
When you make a promise to your team, your staff or members of the school community, they expect you to deliver—no matter what.
Though there is a fine balance in managing expectations, a promise is a promise. You are in a position where you are expected to deliver what is best for your class, team or school and you will be judged on your ability to keep your word and do what you have said you will do!
3. Be Clear and Concise.
Ensure that your message is easy for others to understand and follow. You don’t need to micro-manage how the job gets done (distributive leadership is important) but you need your staff to understand what the end game is.
Shared visions or mission statements that everyone can be a part of (rather than just ‘buy into’) are crucial for this step.
4. Speak face to face.
Emails, memos and staffroom messages are convenient, but in-person meetings cannot be overvalued.
By speaking face to face you foster more respect and strengthen what can grow to be lasting connections. You also get to emphasise what it is you really value. This helps your team value those things too. Actions like taking the time to speak face to face with someone helps produce better long-term results.
5. Gather others who will help carry the collective vision.
You can’t do everything yourself. You need a team around you who will not only support you but who will carry on the vision/mission when you are not there. Strategy is important but changing culture takes time and you need more than one person to do this. In Star Wars Episode 7, Kylo Ren vows to finish what Darth Vader started.
Take the time to nurture the team around you!