Leadership Lessons From Star Wars

Ok, I am very very very late to the Star Wars party. Very late. I watched my first Star Wars film, the original, several months ago, and I didn’t like it. It was too geeky for me (sorry, Star Wars fans). I started with episode IV (the original).

Well, my family decided to give it another try this quarantine season, and we are into it. In fact, I’m tempted to stop writing this and go watch another right now.

This time we started with episode I, and that was a much better experience for us. We started last week, and we have watched, episodes I, II, III, & IV. We are binge watching them as a family. It’s fun and everyone is into it. I actually like Star Wars now. I never thought that I would say this.

I have noticed some interesting leadership principles in the movies that got me thinking. So here goes…

1. All leaders need honest feedback

What is interesting to me is Yoda. Yoda has so much wisdom, and does not sugar coat how he feels. He expressed his concern about Anakin from the beginning. He held off giving his support. He gave feedback to others about Anakin, and he gave Anakin feedback directly to his face. He did not sugar coat it.

Yoda and several others out of love and concern shared with Anakin their concerns about him moving on in leadership.

I think about my own leadership today. Honest feedback is essential to growth. In fact, you cannot grow in the weak areas if you have not given anyone in authority the means to speak into those areas.

2. All leaders need an apprentice

Star Wars had a leadership pipeline in place (on the dark side and the good side).

They identified leaders and made them their apprentice for the means of training them to take their place. If Obi-Wan Kenobi gets killed, he has someone ready to take his place.

This is how our organizations should be led today. We should be constantly working ourselves out of a job by developing someone under us.

Evaluate your own leadership. God forbid, but if you were taken out of the organization right now, could the organization function? If not, then you need to start leading someone to take your place.

Every leader needs an apprentice.

3. Leaders rise and fall with their integrity

The rebellion of Star Wars reminded me that every leader can rise based on their integrity or fall based on their lack of integrity.

Anakin lost his personal integrity. He became infatuated with power and pride that he gave an ear to the dark side.

In leadership, there are many things that can pull our personal integrity right out from underneath us. It can be pride, fame, respect, or a personal private fault of yours that is never dealt with.

Your ability may get you to the top, but your integrity will keep you at the top.

4. Leaders need someone that they can be honest with

Anakin had his wife, Padme, but that was not enough.

He needed someone where he could share the depression, anger, and frustrations that he was feeling. He was angry about losing his mother. He was depressed about it. He was frustrated about the council not allowing him to lead and quite frankly, he did not think that they were treating him like the chosen one.

These are real emotions. Emotions that left not dealt with can cause deep depression and bad behavior, because we behave out of what is in our heart. That is why our hearts must be clean.

Who knows the real you? Who knows your frustrations, depression, and things that you struggle with.

If you do not have a name of someone, find someone who you can be completely honest with. Every leader needs someone.

5. Leaders are human beings (they make mistakes and have feelings)

Last is simply this, leaders are human beings. They make mistakes and they have feelings.

Too often, leaders are placed on this pedastel, and revered as “above mistakes.” Listen, I don’t care who you are following in leadership, they are human and make mistakes.

Every leader makes mistakes. That is why I appreciate what Craig Groeschel says, “people would rather follow a leader who is always real than one who is always right.”

The people that you lead do not need you to be right all of the time, they need you to be real all of the time.

Don’t approach your day to day job and think you have to “have it all together.” That you cannot make a mistake. That you cannot admit that you do not know the answer. Listen, people appreciate your transparency more than you proving you are right.

Well, I am finally a Stars Wars fan. I never thought that I would say this, but I am into it, and cannot wait until we watch the next one tonight.

Published by Josh Evans

Josh is the connections pastor of the Oakleaf campus of Trinity Baptist Church in Jacksonville, FL. Before that, Josh had been a mentor and pastor to students for 10 years. Josh is passionate about empowering church leaders to make a difference. Josh and his wife Abby have two children. You can connect further with Josh on this blog or send him a direct email at joshhevans@gmail.com.

2 thoughts on “Leadership Lessons From Star Wars

  1. As a Star Wars guy myself, these are great insights. Especially #2. You know as a youth pastor I often think about which students to groom, disciple and mentor. But lately I have been thinking about finding “the adult laypeople” in the congregation with the same idea: to be my apprentice. I think I have found someone that could fit the bill but the hardest part is instilling the confidence in them that they are capable.

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