Lesson 060: Leadership trust in management
TV Series: Star Trek - The Next Generation
Season/Episode: 2/2 ('Where Silence has Lease')


The Enterprise is incapacitated by the primordial gravitational forces of a dark matter region of space.

As the ship's deflector shield increases in power to protect the ship, an energy wave front emanates from the dark matter automatically and strikes the ship, depleting the shield's strength.

When the shields strength is increased, the ensuing automatic energy wave front launched from the dark matter hits the ship with even greater magnitude almost destroying the ship.

As a final resort, the shields are rerouted through the warp engines to maximize its strength. The next energy wave which automatically emanates from the dark matter is measured to be off the scales and once it reaches the Enterprise, the ship will definitely be destroyed.

Data, having quickly analyzed the correlation between the shield strength increases and the power output of the energy wave during the past two hits to the ship tells Capt. Picard to order the shields be dropped immediately.

Cmdr. Riker yells out that dropping the shields in the face of the incoming energy wave will be suicide. Data just repeats his request to drop the shields.

Capt. Picard orders the shields dropped. With no shield present, the incoming energy wave dissipates immediately upon reaching the ship and no harm is caused to the ship.

Data explains that the energy waves emanating from the dark matter were magnified echoes of the harmonic oscillations from the ship's shield. Therefore, as the shield increased in power, so did the magnified echo in the energy wave. By shutting down the shields, the echo of the energy wave reciprocated accordingly and disappeared.


The role of leadership dictates that the responsibility for all final decisions lies with the one in charge.

However, that does not mean that all solutions must also be generated by the leader. Rather it is usually the function of the true leader to encourage those within the group to provide alternative solutions to issues being faced based on their respective individual subject matter expertise.

By reviewing the different solutions proposed, the leader can then make the appropriate decision on the proper course of action.

If the leadership decision making process is to be dependent on the opinions and recommendations of others, then the single most critical aspect of the leader-to-others relationship must be - trust.

The leadership must establish an environment of trust that is based on each individual's single-minded focus on the success of the organization or the project or mission. Without this unified focus on the same goal, the true motivation for any opinion or recommendation from anyone will always require scrutiny. Without the trust, all recommendations will need to be weighed against each individual's personal goals and standards.

Of what use is any information, if the source of the information cannot be trusted explicitly?

When, like Capt. Picard, the leadership is successful in building trust based relationships, it becomes much easier for the leadership to decide in favor of recommended solutions, even if it means going against personal intuition in the face of certain failure or disaster.

Capt. Picard's blind faith and trust in Data always placing the safety of the crew and ship above all made it quite easy for Capt. Picard to follow Data's conclusion in dropping the shields to save the ship.

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