Mandalorian Leadership: This Is The Way

ALERT – this blog doesn’t contain any spoilers to any of the latest Mandalorian episodes, but it does reference general themes of the Series.

For me, my older brother is the one who got me hooked on Star Wars! From the movies to the action figures, I never hid my love for Star Wars or the fascination with the characters. Jaiden, my youngest son, also acquired the same appreciation, and we’ve always made it a date to watch the movies in the theater, including the Mandalorian series! We quote references from the movie and are always sharing “conspiracy” theory ideas of the Star Wars universe!

Not only does Jaiden sit alongside me cheering on the characters and easter eggs in the Mandalorian, but he’s also been one who reads leadership books with me (he loves Jon Gordon) and even helps me with leadership blogs from time to time!

Earlier this week, I challenged him to help me think through leadership principles that could be gleaned from the Series (my wife just rolls her eyes – I’ve learned to live with it for as much as she’s learned to deal with me).

Leadership Principle #1: Follow Through with Promises

The premise of the Series is the Mandalorian taking Baby Yoda (who has a name, but that would be a spoiler) back to “his own kind”. At certain points, I think to myself, why is the Mandalorian going through all of this trouble for someone else – there’s a lot of travel, unknowns with issues that arise, heartache, and potential for personal harm. Yet, as a leader, the Mandalorian expresses an unwavering commitment to follow through in the promise made to reunite “the Child” with his people.

Leaders are known for the promises they keep to others and their pursuit, drive, and focus to follow through on the promises they make. What is a promise you are staying committed to following through?

Leadership Principle #2: Honor Your Creed Principles

In watching the Series, we learn that the Mandalorian are not a people; Mandalorian is a creed, a way of living. One of the creed principles is covering their face. Throughout the Series, the Mandalorian does not remove his mask (except once, so far). Even while eating, he makes sure to keep his face covered.

Leaders have a creed, whether they’ve thought about it or not. They have a set of principles that help them stay grounded and keep them focused regardless of what arises. An example of a creed principle might be:

  • Presume positive intent with others;
  • Strives to communicate clearly;
  • Focuses on what’s best for students;
  • Promotes positive relationships;
  • Extends grace, compassion, and empathy to others; or,
  • Recognizes the need to build community in working together.

Do you have creed principles that guide your life and work? How do you self-reflect on them to ensure they stay at the center of your mind?

Leadership Principle #3: Help Others Along the Way

In each episode of the Mandalorian, the Mandalorian seems to run into new characters that not only help him in his quest but also seek his help in theirs. At the beginning of what feels like every episode (this isn’t a spoiler!), the Mandalorian and Baby Yoda arrive at a new location looking for information or a person. Yet, along the way, someone needs the Mandalorian to help them out.

Can you imagine this? You are focused on one need and seek the help of someone. And, when you approach that individual ready to ask for help, they ask you for help. What is your immediate response?

I won’t lie, my immediate outward disposition is one of willingness with a spirit of support. Yet, inwardly, I am anxious in how I will accomplish my task. I don’t know if it’s wrong to feel that way, but I do know that leaders should be flexible and always looking to help others.

Not that it should be our guiding motive, but I find that when I help others to fulfill their mission, I get closer to mine. Relationships are strengthened. I also find that I learn a lot along the way.

Who are you currently helping to achieve their mission?

Leadership Principle #4: Upgrade Your Armor

Other than needing food and shelter, what would a nomadic bounty-hunter need with a financial reward after achieving a mission? The money earned by the Mandalorian is used to purchase his armor. Makes sense in that line of work. To me, some of the coolest interactions is when he meets up with a fellow Mandalorian who uses his reward to forge upgrades to his armor!

Even though the prior three principles focus on the leader helping others, this one is as much important, if not more. What I appreciate is the time that the Mandalorian takes at various times to focus on himself. Self care is important. Similar to the analogy of refilling a cup, taking the time to upgrade your armor at regular intervals is critical. Don’t wait until you are empty!

What is something have done for yourself THIS WEEK that has helped you to be “stronger and better”?

Conclusion

I am sure you have trouble at times turning off your “leadership switch” to simply enjoy a TV show. Yet, I think that’s what makes this a great Series – so many take-aways that we can incorporate in our lives. What leadership principles did I miss from the Mandalorian that spoke to you? Feel free to share in the comments section below to build this list! Also, tag me on Twitter (@drneilgupta) with your comment and include #FartherTogether to share the learning!

2 comments

  1. I might add one more, which is a willingness to take extreme risks. I am thinking specifically when Mando has to get swallowed by a Krayt dragon in order to vanquish it after all other attempts failed. A leader has to model a “whatever it takes” attitude. Being willing to be vulnerable and take on greater risks than those you lead is an invaluable leadership trait!

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