Lesson 025: Managers need not be Oracles
TV Series: Star Trek - The Next Generation
Season/Episode: 5/5 ('Disaster')


The Enterprise is accidently hit by a quantum filament of energy and left adrift with vital sections of the ship cut off from each other.

Counselor Troi is left as the highest ranking officer on the command bridge. Also on the bridge are Chief O'Brian and Ensign Ro Laren.

Although Troi is not trained in command procedures, she nevertheless takes charge and asks for next-step suggestions from O'Brian and Laren. By weighing their opposing advices, Troi orders a course of action, despite vehement opposition from Laren.


Managers must excel in managing and do not necessarily need to be the oracle of knowledge for everything. Sometimes managers may not have all the information required to make the right management decision by themselves. The information they are missing, either due to a lack of education or prior experience, they may need to seek out from others.

Managers must put aside their egos and always be prepared to request input from their staff, peers and especially upper management, if need be. Requesting opinions and suggestions from others does not diminish the role of managers, rather it re-enforces their commitment to making the best decisions for their organizations. It also indicates the manager's willingness to trust the respective talents of their staff.

Managers must also pay attention to the individuals whose advice they did not follow. The manager must acknowledge their contributions to the decision making process by having offered alternative solutions. By commending their input, the manager encourages their future involvement in similar situations.

As Troi's actions, which were opposite to Laren's recommendations, proved right, Laren apologized to Troi for being wrong. Troi replied that Laren could just have easily been right in this instance.

Offering encouragement in the face of being wrong is very command worthy indeed.

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