Lessons in leadership from the Death Star

Several people were tweeting recently about Lessons in leadership from Design Star at the Leadership With Style site. (For those of you who don’t know, Design Star is kind of a cross between Trading Spaces and The Apprentice, but there’s no Donald Trump. Teams of interior designers go at it to compete for the best design.)
What prompted my post was that when I read the tweet about “Lessons in leadership from Design Star,” I misread it as “”Lessons in leadership from the Death Star.” This is arguably a much better show idea, so I wanted to put some ideas down in case there’s the potential for a Hollywood contract.
  1. There are no mistakes. Ever. If your employees know that they’d better not screw up about anything makes them that much sharper. “Apology accepted, Captain Needa!”
  2. There is no room for anything but complete and total loyalty. Expressing the slightest doubt about something you’ve said or done is completely unacceptable. “I find this lack of faith disturbing.”
  3. Once you’ve honed a fine edge of fear on your team, strop it to a high gloss by threatening them with even greater retribution from higher up the chain. “I hope so, for your sake. The Emperor is not as forgiving as I am.”
  4. If people haven’t completely dropped the ball, it may be worth your effort just to kick butt and take names. They’ll get the message and will serve as a further example of the value of meeting your expectations to the other employees. “You may dispense with the pleasantries, Commander. I am here to put you back on schedule.”
  5. Package yourself as a personality, not a person. Go for the mystique. “You don’t know the power of the dark side!”
  6. Don’t delegate. If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. “No. Leave them to me. I will deal with them myself.”
  7. Only negotiate from strength: it’s your way or the highway. “He will join us or die, my master.”
  8. Keep your word only to the extent that it suits you. “I am altering the deal. Pray I don’t alter it any further.”
  9. Always be ready to submit to the greater power of superiors you cannot directly buck. “What is thy bidding, my master?”
  10. On the other hand, never miss an opportunity to subvert and overthrow them to advance your own career. “Join me, and together we can rule the galaxy as father and son.”
  11. Cultivate powerful minions who will be useful to you as you plot to move up the ladder. “Luke, you do not yet realize your importance. You have only begun to discover your power. Join me, and I will complete your training. With our combined strength, we can end this destructive conflict and bring order to the galaxy.”
  12. Mark your territory. “You should not have come back!”
  13. Gloating when you have the upper hand is acceptable (and very satisfying). “I have you now!”
  14. Remember that, at the end of the day, it’s all about you and you alone. “The circle is now complete. When I left you I was but the learner. Now I am the master.”
(Thanks to Larry Kunz for management tip #5.)

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