7 Leadership Lessons From Yoda

Jan 02, 2014 4 Min Read
Lessons on leadership from Star War's Yoda

Perhaps the most iconic mentoring leader on the silver screen, Yoda is an excellent example of great leadership. Not only humble in character and speech, he typifies what a great servant leader is. Here are 7 leadership lessons from the great servant leader.

1. You are not the hero, but your Padawan may be

Yes, Yoda is cool. However, he’s not the popular hero of the series. Instead, he is the driving force behind the heroes, Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi. Similarly, great leaders focus on building the future. They build their experience, knowledge and wisdom into others. It brings comfort to the best leaders to see their padawan (mentees) succeed.

2. You may be misunderstood

When he first meets Yoda, Luke Skywalker underestimates him:

Yoda: Help you I can. Yes, mmmm.

Luke: I don’t think so. I’m looking for a great warrior.

Yoda: Ohhh. Great warrior… Wars not make one great.

To further the misunderstanding, his way of talking is strange. Great leaders are often misunderstood by others. The servant leader’s emphasis on service over power and humility over vanity goes against the popular notion. You may not be tiny, green, and ancient and speak funny, but you will be misunderstood. But that should never derail you from your vision and mission.

3. If you’re not careful, your organisation may produce a Darth Vader

Yoda expresses concern about young Anakin Skywalker. Sure enough, the worst fears come true and Anakin becomes the evil Darth Vader. Great leaders have a great deal of accountability when mentoring and raising the future generations of their organisation. Use care when hiring, mentoring and promoting.

Yoda: Twisted by the Dark Side, young Skywalker has become. The boy you trained, gone he is… Consumed by Darth Vader.

Read More: Why Darth Vader & The Empire Keeps Failing

4. You live in the muck

Yoda lived on the Dagobah System when Luke Skywalker finds him. This swamp world is full of mud, muck, grime and filth. His home was a tiny mud hut. Great leaders do not live in an ivory tower. To the contrary, they invest a lot of time in the thick of things. In serving their stakeholders, great leaders are not afraid to get their hands dirty.

Luke: I want my lamp back. I’m gonna need it to get out of this slimy mudhole.

Yoda: Mudhole? Slimy? My home this is!

5. Your work is never done

Yoda was more than 900 years old when he met his last student (Luke). In fact, even after he died, Yoda continued to coach and mentor the younger Skywalker.

Great leaders understand that work is never done. Work-life alignment is important, but the work is unending.

6. Sometimes, you have to kick evil’s butt yourself

Ancient by human terms, but still spirited and full of Force, Yoda knows when he must pick up the light saber and do battle himself. Great leaders focus on building others to extend the culture of service and the positive influence of their organisations. However, when necessary, leaders who serve are not afraid to join in the hand-to-hand combat of their organisation.

Darth Sidious: I have waited a long time for this moment, my little green friend. At last, the Jedi are no more.

Yoda: Not if anything to say about it I have!

7. It’s up to you

Great leaders understand the future is up to them. If Yoda had not gone into exile on Dagobah, patiently waiting for the right opportunity, all could have been lost. Yoda was the last hope for the people against the Dark Force. He had to train Luke to conquer the Emperor and Darth Vader.

Similarly, it’s up to you, as a great leader, to conquer the toxic leadership that so many organisations are fraught with today.

May the force be with you, young Padawans.

Read More: 5 More Lessons from STAR Wars

Learning is changing. And Necole is leading the way. If you are not using necole, you are not learning. Watch this great video below on how necole can change your life

Share This


Tags: Be A Leader

Ben Lichtenwalner is the founder of www.ModernServantLeader.com, where he promotes Servant Leadership Awareness, Adoption and Action.

You May Also Like

leader at the top; true leadership

Unveiling the Essence of True Leadership: What Do You Stand For?

By Ella Zhang. What does it take to have true leadership? Delve into core values, character, and resilience to lead authentically.

Jul 26, 2023 4 Min Read

Person looking unhappy starring at his laptop (Personal Values)

3 Ways to Resolve Personal Value Conflict in the Workplace

Qhairyl Iyzuan, Head of Government Client Engagement and Team Building at Leaderonomics talks about handling conflicting personal values in the workplace

Dec 15, 2020 24 Min Podcast


Nuggets Of Advice On Entrepreneurship And Success

“Be passionate, be proactive, never say die and never make excuses” is Bill Rancic’s advice to any aspiring entrepreneur.

May 24, 2013 16 Min Video

Be a Leader's Digest Reader