The Jedi Trainer's Guide To Employee Management
Serious skill is required to navigate the galactic asteroid fields of employee management
Whether you've already mastered the art of the Jedi mind trick - or your employees would sooner follow instructions from a Wookie - there are specific ways in which your management skills can benefit from the ancient
trials of Jedi training. Not for the faint of heart, theses five Jedi Trials will require strict adherence to the Jedi code and a willingness to stretch yourself to the limits.
There are five trials all Padawan managers, aka Jedi Managers-in-training, must face:
Trial of skill
"Delegation skill have you must"
- Reason for trial: before a true manager can be successful, he or she must learn the ultimate skill of delegation. If this skill is not adopted early on in a manager's career, he/she may experience extreme exhaustion and
anxiety trying to take on more work that can be completed.
- Skill training: delegation takes a great amount of self-discipline. Like a true Jedi, a manager must sacrifice himself in order to fully master the art of delegation. This is largely a trial-and-error experiment: a manager must
perfectly balance the task of executing his/her own while relying on subordinates to execute theirs. Depending on the willingness of the student to be flexible and try new methods, training may take mere months to many
- Result: after passing the Trial of Skill, a manager will be proficient in delegation, will not be overworked, and will have good rapport with his/her entire team.
Trial of insight
"Insight must you have to communicate effectively"
- Reason for trial: perhaps the single most important habit of a manager is that of clear and concise communication. But to communicate effectively, a manager must first understand each and every situation she/he is dealing
with. Identifying the real issue often requires seeing through the proverbial smoke and mirrors.
- Insight training: a manager must ask multiple questions in order to properly evaluate the real issue at hand, as well as the true personas of his/her employees. Just like the Jedi, this may require calling a council meeting in
order to illuminate pressing issues and effectively communicate potential solutions.
- Result: A manager proficient in the skills of insight will be able to identify issues, identify solutions, and effectively communicate the solutions to those who can help resolve them.
Trial of flesh
"To face the loneliness and pain of management, much endurance you require"
- Reason for trial: in this brutal trial, the Jedi were subjected to the pains of torture, blood loss, and burning, which often left deep scars and sometimes even dismemberment. Enduring pain is key for both the Jedi and the
manager. The role of manager is often a lonely one, and he or she must be able to endure the pains of extreme frustration, long hours, and pressure from above on their own.
- Endurance training: this trial is undertaken in the trenches of battle. Managers must walk through flames each day, but they must not be consumed by it; rather, they must allow themselves to be shaped and molded by it,
like a saber forged in the fire.
- Result: a manager that has gone through this trial will be able to not only endure the hardships of management, but will also be able to fight each day with strength and confidence in his/her ability to keep executing.
Trial of courage
"Hand-in-hand do courage and discipline travel"
- Reason for trial: the Trial of Courage corresponds to all areas of management training, but is especially applicable to the art of discipline. Learning how to discipline is a must for all managers, for at any point their
employees may attempt to take advantage of them. Responding with disciplinary action takes heart and courage.
- Courage training: courage training requires a manager to face unknown challenges head-on in an uncontrolled environment. Only those with whom the force is strong will survive this trial. Do not lose heart, but seek those
who have survived this training, as their wisdom and experience are tried-and-true.
- Result: a manager who passes the Trial of Courage will not back down from conflict, but rather will face them head-on, trusting that wisdom and integrity will guide him/her.
Trial of spirit
"The darkness in your heart must you face until confidence you embrace"
- Reason for trial: a manager with no confidence will always fail to instill confidence in his/her employees. A team with no confidence is a team destined for defeat. But before a manager can truly be confident in his/her own
abilities to lead, he/she must face the most nefarious enemy of all: the soul.
- Spirit training: self-examination, or "facing the mirror," is the Jedi's path to lasting confidence. Managers should take the lead of the Jedi by identifying and destroying all areas lacking confidence in their own hearts.
- Result: the Trial of Spirit is often long and gruelling, but will result in ultimate confidence in the end. A manager's confidence breeds confidence in his/her employees, and confidence is one of the keys to success.
Resources: http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Jedi_Trials; http://www.mindtools.com/pages/articles/newTMM_92.htm