Management by Captain Kirk

Captain Kirk, management guru? Yes, say management experts, in a clever article assessing Kirk’s management of the Enterprise. It highlights six things the typical CEO could learn from Captain Kirk:

Know when to be a pal, and when to be tough. As Kirk found when he split personalities, you can’t be too nice or too tyrannical, but have to mix both elements of your personality.

Know both sides of the story. Kirk forged a truce between a monster and some miners by finding out the root of the anger on both sides.

Know when to change. Kirk intervenes in an ancient struggle by forcibly reframing the problem. A good first step for any management dilemma.
Don’t be afraid to manage up. The example is Kirk being insubordinate (what else is new?), so it’s really about not being a yes man. What usually¬† happens is you don’t get your own spaceship. But Kirk’s bosses don’t like yes men, and he gets promoted.
Change your style. Don’t manage everyone the same way. Kirk didn’t.

Managing Generation Y. Same as 5, really, but more direct in reminding CEOs to value the perspective of their youngest employees.

In fact, after seeing the new Star Trek movie this weekend, I am reminded that Kirk, for all his leadership qualities, was capricious, cocksure and something of a con man. His best management skill? Having a good Hollywood scriptwriter on his side. Star Trek management will only work so well in the real world.

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