The Ship’s Captain – A lesson in leadership

Funny how when you least expect it, a chance remark, a newspaper headline, observing people going about their daily business or when watching tv, something resonates with you to the point that you say to yourself, “I understand that”. This happened to me last night when I was watching one of my favourite tv programmes, Star Trek: Voyager. I know, I know, but I can’t help myself. (even though the series finished in 2001, thank goodness for digital.) I love science fiction and I love the whole “Star Trek” franchise. But there is something special about the story of the Star Ship USS Voyager which starts with Voyager attempting to capture the crew of a renegade Maquis vessel, when suddenly both Voyager and that of the Maquis are pulled into the distant Delta quadrant by powerful alien technology.

Unfortunately, there would be no similar “express” route to take them home again. Stranded 70,000 light-years from Earth, Captain Janeway convinces the Maquis to join the Starfleet crew and serve together during the long voyage back to the Alpha Quadrant and Federation space.

The interesting aspect of this series is that the captain of the Star Ship Voyager is a woman, Captain Kathryn Janeway. The characters are great, the other space races that they meet and mostly fight are great, but what really hit me last night watching this episode was how the leadership from the top filters through the whole crew, much the same as leadership from the top in a business environment filters through to all the staff that work there.

The storyline for this episode was that Voyager was dragged into an area of space within space itself, apparently with no way to get back out, but I knew that with another eleven episodes to go before the concluding finale, that they would manage it and this is where fiction has a thing or two to teach the real world.

Back to the plot.

Spaceships that were pulled into this zone previously have found that the only way to survive has been to attack and pillage supplies and materials from other ships, especially ones just sucked in, and when they are least expecting it.

But Captain Janeway has always adhered to Starfleet Commands code of the “Prime Directive” and this was to be no exception.

Voyager, having been attacked within minutes of being sucked into the void and with supplies and food beamed off by the attacking ship, Captain Janeway tracks their stolen cargo to another vessel, cue on screen demands for the return of said property, space fight then ensues with Janeway beaming back to Voyager only what had been taken from them and ignoring the opportunity to take everything the other spaceship had even though Voyager could have done so, that would have been stealing.

Captain Janeway then contacted other ships and started to form an alliance, working on mutual trust, sharing technology and supplies to the benefit of all and using this alliance to protect other spaceships that were sucked in from being attacked. Making it a team effort.

Of course the baddies were not having any of this because Janeway’s rules forbade them to attack, steal and murder crews on other vessels, so they broke away from the alliance to attack Voyager and take what they wanted.

However by holding true to her values in the face of destruction, the remaining members of this loose alliance and the people that she had helped and shown kindness to came to Voyager’s rescue and saw off the attackers.

Voyager and the three other spaceships as a team then worked out the technology and a plan to escape their spacial prison. Which they did at warp factor 8.3

Leaving the baddies in the void. Hoorah!

The point of all this is that leadership defines behaviour.

Good leadership defines good behaviour, worthy principles and strong teamwork, which gets the job done properly.

Bad leadership leads to well, being left in the void!

I know that Star Ship Captains’ James T Kirk and Jean-Luc Picard would behave in the same exemplary fashion, showing inspirational leadership to their crews, I just found it refreshing that a woman shows how it can be done as well.

 

Live long and prosper.

David Kentish

 

 

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