Joy Writing: Learning leadership styles through the futuristic mindset of ‘Star Trek’
by JOYANNA LOVE Banner Senior Staff Writer
Aug 24, 2014 | 475 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
I’ve always been intrigued by “Star Trek.”

When I watched the original television show’s episodes and the later movies with my dad, he explained the history of just how ahead of its time the show was. Forget that it happened in a spaceship even before a man had landed on the moon.

The original “Star Trek” TV show was also socially and culturally ahead of its time. An African-American female cast in a leadership role in television or in movies was not seen much in that day. The original series also had more cultural diversity than any of the others — a Russian, an Asian and a Scot.

Thanks to my husband, I have been on a “Star Trek” kick for months.

At this point in our marriage, Jeremy and I have watched one season of “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” three seasons of “Star Trek: Enterprise,” a season of “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” and three seasons of “Star Trek: Voyager.”

“Voyager” is his favorite, and I must agree it is mine too. I think it’s his most-liked because it lends itself to in-depth analysis of the characters from a psychological point of view.

Throughout each episode we talk, trying to figure out the crazy twists and turns and analyzing the characters. There are of course some episodes I like better than others. As with any show, there are those scenes I wish were left out.

Watching “Star Trek” is like reading Dr. Seuss — what you see on the surface is often a window to a commentary on society. Throughout its various versions, social equality, slavery, discrimination, AIDS, drug addiction, oppressive governments, religious terrorists and ethical issues relating to life and technology are explored. Although not explicitly mentioned, each of these social issues appears in at least one episode.

Countless episodes expound on what happens when a stronger and a weaker society collide.

No matter what I’m watching, “Star Trek” or otherwise, I often look for a bigger meaning, an application to real life.

Leadership styles of the captains are a repeated conversational theme. Jeremy finds both “Next Generation” captain Jean-Luc Picard and original series captain James Kirk cocky and arrogant, but finds Deep Space Nine’s Benjamin Sisko to be the worst. (Although he does admit, Picard gets better as his series progresses.)

I see Sisko as a tough leader. In his shows I’ve seen so, far he is hard line and strict. An old friend and his son are the only ones that see a softer side of the man. He is a leader whose command starts out of chaos, and to ensure things go well he keeps an arm’s distance and unwavering rules.

Kirk is cocky, but the way he cheats death throughout the show keeps the watcher guessing.

Voyager’s Capt. Kathryn Janeway is forced to have closer relationships with her crew and becomes a motherly figure to many. Where Sisko embraces regulations to bring order to the chaos, Janeway embraces being flexible and maintaining order by maintaining trust. Janeway often looks to her team for solutions.

Enterprise Capt. Jonathan Archer has a “never-give-up” mentality, much like Kirk. Archer shows good leadership as he puts his own life on the line to save his crew and humanity countless times throughout the series. Also like Kirk, his stubbornness gets him into trouble.

A confident person knows that admitting an idea didn’t work does not make them a failure. A stubborn person will always hold that the idea would have worked if something had been just a little different.

Positive stubbornness is called determination. A determined person has a goal and will work to overcome any obstacle that gets in their way. A good leader can be determined, confident and still look to others for help.

A confident leader knows there are benefits to having wise counselors with them.

I like a team approach to leadership. Yes, there needs to be someone in charge who makes the ultimate decision, but I appreciate people who ask for input.

Whenever I am in a leadership position, I like hearing input from others. I need people I can bounce ideas off of and talk with about plans. Every leader needs a sounding board.

Being in leadership is not always an easy thing to embrace. Many times I have simply fallen into leadership because an opportunity came and no one else was interested. Someone with leadership skills cannot run from leading. If they do not see the potential, often others will, and will ask them to lead.