Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Captain Kirk or Mr. Spock?

Captain Kirk or Mr. Spock?

The brave but emotional fighter pilot or the ultra-logical but "cold fish" analyst?

After years of favoring Spock, I've concluded that I'm not wild about either one. There is more to life, if I may twist a phrase, than contained in Spock's logic and Kirk's embrace of the emotional can be more than off-putting.

The two extremes are helpful reminders that there is no single leadership style that is best. The most effective leaders use a multitude of approaches depending upon the occasion. Sometimes, it is time to be collegial and other times a more formalistic or even autocratic approach is required. That versatility, however, must be anchored to a solid core of values or else versatility will quickly sink into rank opportunism.

As for fiction, Kirk and Spock are pretty boring compared to Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin.


Dan Richwine said...

So, who was the greatest leader in ficton history? For my money, Captain Ahab might be the greatest. Not the most moral, but the greatest.

Think of it! He was able to take over the stated interest of the boat's owners, which the crew shared, with a monomanical hunting of one whale. He captivated through an hypnotic incentive (the golden coin) the entire crew, and lead them willingly into a chase which they all knew was mad. They not only followed him to hell, they followed him knowing they were folling him to hell!

Let's see Lucky Jack Aubrey do that!

Michael Wade said...


Isn't that one of those "The operation was a success but the patient died" standards?

A characteristic of great leadership is that the followers are left better off as a result.

And Lucky Jack Aubrey did that!