Intimate Leadership-Leadership Advice from Star Trek

Star Trek 2-Wrath of KhanRecently, HBO has been repeating Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan. I am not sure why they repeat this particular movie over and over again but I try to watch pieces of it whenever it is on. Yes I am Trekkie at heart. I have been since I started watching reruns of Star Trek with my father in the 70s.

When you watch something this many times you begin to pick out details and maybe over analyze it too much. For those of you who are not familiar with the plot: the crew of the Enterprise reunites; battles Khan Noonien Singh with casualties; and wins to save the universe. You get the idea. What is interesting about this plot is this is the one that Spock sacrifices himself for captain, ship, and crew and ultimately dies in the end.

I started to think about Leader (Kirk) and follower (Spock) relationships. Why would anyone sacrifice himself or herself? The relationship between Kirk and Spock go beyond captain and first officer. Their relationship is a particularly close interpersonal relationship. Both Spock and Kirk know and trust one another very well and are confidants of one another.

Being an intimate leader means your relationships with your followers goes beyond a typical superficial relationship. You form a closeness and bond with your followers and they with you. You trust them and they trust you. This is the ultimate relationship. You are willing to sacrifice all things, including your life, for each other. How many of us can truly say we are willing to sacrifice for our staff? Or are our staff willing to sacrifice for us? Granted, we probably would not sacrifice our life. Do you have that kind or relationship? Do you want that kind of relationship?

The relationship between leader (manager) and follower (staff) is important in that a strong bond allows you to accomplish any task and overcome any obstacle. The relationship between Kirk and Spock allowed them to boldly go where no man has gone before.

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4 thoughts on “Intimate Leadership-Leadership Advice from Star Trek

  1. Of course, it also helped that Kirk had an emotionless Vulcan as the follower 🙂

    IMO, an important prerequisite for such a relationship is a cause that’s bigger than either party’s ambitions. (As in the case of Armed forces, where something other than mere personal ambition drives the soldier forward.)

    • I never really both that emotionless angle. I think his friendship with Kirk was always full of emotion in a “guy” sort of way.

      Interesting second point. I agree that there should be a some type of goal whether it be war, scoring a touchdown, or moving a company forward. This type of relationship goes beyond ego and self ambition.

      Thanks for the comment.

  2. May I offer a slightly different view: that Spock sacrified himself not for Kirk the learder that he had a strong bond with? I think that he did it for Kirk the leader of a cause that he strongly believed in (and was willing to die for). It happened all the time on the battlegrounds where a private may throw himself in front of an exploding grenade to save his captain. He may not have a strong bond with the troop leader, but by saving the captain the soldier would protect the cause. A leader who is perceived as representing a worthy cause is always worth sacrifying for.

    It doesn’t take away your excellent point about forming strong bond between leader and followers.

    • I thought about this issue from a military perspective. The issue that I had is many times (not counting movie depictions of war) a soldier sometimes did not care about their commanding officer or the war. How often have you read about soldiers mutinying and killing their commander officer? War and military is a much deeper, complicated conversation. Great idea for another blog post.

      Thanks for the comment and a different perspective.

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