Lesson 056: Management authority challenged
TV Series: Star Trek - The Next Generation
Season/Episode: 4/9 ('Final Mission')


Capt. Picard and Wesley are on board a rundown beat up shuttle craft that is captained by a rather contentious, sarcastic, scruffy looking fellow.

The shuttle Captain never misses an opportunity to express his disdain for the much, much larger and more powerful starship Enterprise by continually belittling his own shuttle craft in front of Capt. Picard.

After an accident forces them to crash land on a moon with desert-like features, Capt. Picard recommends that they head towards the mountain range in the distance to seek cover from the sun's overwhelming heat.

The shuttle Captain immediately refutes Capt. Picard's authority to decide what they all should do.

Even though Capt. Picard is many quantum levels higher than the shuttle Captain in leadership experience and abilities, Capt. Picard does not openly challenge the shuttle captain. Instead he tells the shuttle captain that he appreciates the shuttle Captain's piloting abilities and welcomes his input, and asks if there is any alternative solution that he (Capt. Picard) may have overlooked. The shuttle captain had no other solutions and resolved to follow Capt. Picard's orders.


Here is an excellent example of true leadership. Leadership is less about leading others than it is having others follow you voluntarily!

History is filled with events where people have followed so-called leaders out of fear and not reverence. A true leader inspires others, including even those who may stand in opposition.

We all encounter people in life, especially at work, who through their own inferiority complex, manage to be very condescending and patronizing of others. These characters generally lead to disruptions in attempts to building a cohesive work environment.

By overtly trying to suppress or dismiss such people through imposing management rank and directives may appear at first to clear any potential problem issues, but in reality they only acerbate relationships and increases the rift among all involved. By opposing the disruptive individuals, management only fuels them to exhibit further negative behavior.

In order to properly address such personality issues, management must first try to gain the confidence of the individual. Once management establishes a non-threatening relationship with the individual, then management must try to ascertain the root cause of the bad behavior. If the cause or causes cannot be readily resolved through discussion or change in work environment or by some other means, then dismissal may have to be the only recourse.

As a leader, or manager, one needs to emulate Capt. Picard's actions here and first encourage useful, constructive dialogue in any potential conflict situations.

Respect and loyalty to rank may be inherently obvious; however, our allegiance, faith and trust lie in only those individuals whom we voluntarily seek to follow as leaders.

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