Mon Motha’s management lessons from the Star Wars: Rogue One trailer
Mon Mothma isn’t here just to teach The Empire a lesson, she’s going to teach us modern day PMs a thing or two, as well!
As a project manager, you get to work with a variety of individuals. It’s a fortunate scenario when you’re working with a team that share all the same motivations, goals, but each have complementary skill sets. Fortunate, yes — common? Not so much.
Sometimes, persons can become unmotivated, or stray from the common goal. Discouraged employees is becoming less and less common in the teach realm with all the emphasis companies are putting on culture, but the reality is that sometimes — it still happens. Being a maverick sometimes goes against the dogma of being part of a team working on a single project — and its at these times that persons can become antsy and relate themselves as “Code Monkeys” or “Design Drones”. That lack of enthusiasm is not something you want anybody to be feeling in your team!
So how can you conquer it, without reinventing the wheel?
First — have you seen the Star Wars: Rogue One trailer? I’m going to refer to it quite a bit. Also — it’s awesome.
Jyn Erso represents the team member who is the aforementioned antsy indivudal. Mon Mothma of Chandrila lists Erso’s less likeable traits — and instead of dismissing her, or ruling her out as unusable for her enthusiasm, maverick, and antsiness, attempting to bridle her, reacts with a much more innovative method that we, as project managers, can learn from.
Mon Mothma brings Erso into the Rebellion base, and Erso releases this bad ass quote:
“This is a Rebellion, isn’t it? I Rebel.”
(Prepare yourselves for this request, tattoo parlours).
Instead of reacting negatively, giving Erso a check-in and demanding she conform to the more regulated methods of the elite soldiers, or militia, Mothma simply smiles and changes the direction of the conversation to focus on Erso’s talents.
And she fortunately gets a whole movie out of it.
While I realize the likelihood of catering to a single individuals talents because they are anxious in their current position isn’t exceedingly likely, we can take pieces of inspiration from Mothma for action now!
- Don’t tell the team member they need to “Suck it up”
- Don’t discourage questions or conversations from the team member
- Find out where their passions are → This can include giving them the freedom for problem solving with the aspect of their passion. For example, if a developer is interested in back-end work, see how that could be incorporated into their front end role; or see if other teams could use some support in the realm the developer’s interests are in. Perhaps a graphic designer is interested in exploring UI and UX solutions — create the bridge for them to have communication to ongoing interface projects.
- Focus on the team member’s talents, and create opportunities for them
In short — we’re not leading a rebellion, and not all our team members are going to be enthused about every project they’re assigned to — but we can take notes on how to make them more enthusiastic about the work that’s being completed!
After all, their name is on it. You want everybody involved to feel proud of what they produce.