3 Leadership Lessons from Star Wars

So last night, me and my family finally got to watch “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.” I feel bad in saying this but, “Justice League,” sorry you’re no longer my favorite movie of the year. There were twists there were turns, and awesome sequences.

But this isn’t a movie review so I’ll stop there. What I want to talk about is the crazy yet simple leadership lessons I learned from the movie. So if you haven’t been living under a rock (Kidding! Yes, I’m a nerd), you know that Star Wars follows the battle between two sides- the dark side and the light. There have been quite a few groups to be a part of the dark side, the most recent being the First Order. And on the protagonists’ side, we follow the Resistance.

The First Order are the bad guys and are thus lead by bad leaders. Kylo Ren, General Hux and Supreme Leader Snoke. The good guys have leaders like Princess Leia, Luke Skywalker, Poe Dameron and Rey.

We know that there are a ton of differences between both sides. But one veiled difference that stood out to me in the movie was a choice of leadership style. We all love the Resistance and hate the First Order. So it’s safe to say we all love the leaders of the Resistance. So what leadership principles are different in both sides? Here are three major differences in the Resistance and First Order’s leadership styles. From this we’ll learn lessons that will turn us into good “Resistance-like” leaders.

Hope versus Fear

The Jedi and the Resistance operate by one motivating factor- hope. As Princess Leia described in the movie, the Resistance exists to be a spark to light hope all across the galaxy. But the First Order operates on fear. Fear of making mistakes (and getting Force choked). Of the powerful. Fear of big guns vaporizing you.

Good leaders lead by giving hope to followers. Not by instilling fear. When we cast the vision and motivate people instead of slave drive them, we become leaders worth following.

Shiny Chairs versus The Battlefield

Every scene in Star Wars features Snoke- the First Order CEO- comfortable on a shiny chair. Samurai-like guards in blood red suits surround his lair. While Resistance leaders were always in the battle field. They risked their lives with fellow soldiers and some of them even died in the process.

If you looked at your leadership style today, are you the kind of leader that pulls a “Snoke?” Or do you rest on your laurels when your staff, team members or volunteers are doing all the heavy lifting? But if you choose to be the leader that sacrifices, serves, builds, cleans, gets paycuts, gives up time and effort, people will follow you.

Fighting For Position versus Fighting For Each Other

The tension between two of Snoke’s henchmen, General Hux and Kylo Ren shows a desire to gain more position. How many times are offices like this? People stepping on one another to get bonuses, raises, position, favor or bigger budgets.

True leaders don’t fight other team members for position. Rather they fight for team members. Period. Companies, churches, non-profits and governments need leaders who will for others with or without a position or reward. Not fight others for position or reward.

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