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Five Leadership Lessons From Jean-Luc Picard

Where Captain Kirk is brash, Captain Picard is patient and reflective. He isn't a pushover, though: he helped defeat the Borg, matched wits with Q (the all-powerful force which consistently bothered the crew of the enterprise and all of humanity), and carried out mission after mission for the good of the Federation. Alex Knapp again visits the realm of Star Trek to bring back five leadership lessons from the intrepid Picard. One of the most useful is also the most simple: know when to ask for help: That's something that seems obvious, doesn't it? But how many of us have refused to acknowledge that we need help at some point in our lives? How many of us have been on teams led by someone who was out of their depth but unwilling to seek out any guidance? It takes a great deal of confidence to admit that you need help. As Q said to Picard after Picard asked for help, “That was a difficult admission. Another man would have been humiliated to say those words. Another man would have rather died than ask for help.” How many of us have been on doomed projects because the project leader was too proud or too blind to ask for help?Another valuable lesson Picard (or, more appropriately, Knapp) suggests is to challenge your team to grow. It's easy to let team members stay exactly as they are when nothing is wrong, but that doesn't benefit either of you in the long run. As Knapp points out, getting team members to experience new challenges, and gain new skills, pays off when unexpected issues arise. Picard's careful but deliberate leadership is something all of us can learn from, whether we're Starship Captains or CIOs.

About Anne Grybowski

Anne is a former staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success, with a degree in Media Studies from Penn State University.

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