12 Leadership Lessons From the Bridge of the Starship Enterprise

Star Trek Captains

Between liaisons with Pantone hued alien females, conflicts with empire-building cyborg killing machines, and encounters on new planets that always results in the death of a red shirted security officer, koans of management advice are routinely delivered from the bridge of the Enterprise.

There are great lessons to be learned from the words of these men who sit in the Captain's chair. Apply the wisdom of Starfleet's finest to your strange new world of business and you too will manage well and prosper.

Be a Leader

"The man on top walks a lonely street; the 'chain' of command is often a noose." -Capt. James Tiberius Kirk

"One of the advantages of being Captain is being able to ask for advice without necessarily having to take it." -Kirk

Taunt Your Rival

"Khan. Khan, you've got Genesis. But you don't have me! You're going to kill me Khan, you're going to have to come down here. You're going to have to come down here." -Kirk

Allow Subordinates to Speak Freely

"If I may be so bold, it was a mistake for you to accept promotion. Commanding a starship is your first, best, destiny. Anything else is a waste of material." -Spock, to Kirk

Delegate

"As captain of this ship, I'm the one who's responsible for everyone aboard. There aren't many people I'd willingly turn that responsibility over to. You're one of 'em." -Capt. Jonathan Archer to Phlox, the ship's physician

Plan Ahead

"We must anticipate, and not make the same mistake once." -Capt. Jean-Luc Picard

Set Realistic Goals

"Not one hundred percent efficient, of course...but nothing ever is." -Kirk

"Genius doesn't work on an assembly line basis. You can't simply say, 'Today I will be brilliant.'" -Kirk

Meetings

"A meeting is an event where minutes are taken and hours wasted." -Kirk

Intuition

"Intuition, however illogical, is recognized as a command prerogative." -Kirk

Creativity

"Without freedom of choice there is no creativity" -Kirk

"Things are only impossible until they're not." -Picard

Read more about Star Trek at FastCompany.com here.

Watch Star Trek Enterprise: The Original Series, "Dagger of the Mind," Season 1, Episode 011 to hear Kirk's leadership advice:

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