5 Leadership Lessons from James T. Kirk

Early in his career, superiors noticed the leadership abilities of Starfleet officer James T. Kirk. When he was promoted to post Captain at the age of 31, he was, at the time, the youngest in Starfleet history. Why was Kirk successful as a leader? Alex Knapp of Forbes describes five key traits that we can emulate. Among them was his habit of getting different points of view:

Kirk’s closest two advisors are Commander Spock, a Vulcan committed to a philosophy of logic, and Dr. Leonard McCoy, a human driven by compassion and scientific curiosity. Both Spock and McCoy are frequently at odds with each other, recommended different courses of action and bringing very different types of arguments to bear in defense of those points of view. Kirk sometimes goes with one, or the other, or sometimes takes their advice as a springboard to developing an entirely different course of action.

However, the very fact that Kirk has advisors who have a different worldview not only from each other, but also from himself, is a clear demonstration of Kirk’s confidence in himself as a leader. Weak leaders surround themselves with yes men who are afraid to argue with them. That fosters an organizational culture that stifles creativity and innovation, and leaves members of the organization afraid to speak up.

Link -via reddit | Image: Paramount

P.S. Alex Knapp previously wrote about leadership lessons from the Galactic Empire of Star Wars. Yesterday, Ilya Somin wrote an excellent critique of it.

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