Workplace Lessons Star Wars Can Teach Us in 2016

Ready to Take Your Job by Storm? The Force is with You.

There is no better time to manage workplace foibles, improve office morale, and reflect on the health of co-worker relations than the clean slate of a brand new year. Was 2015 was less than galactic? One way to learn from past mistakes is to look to a galaxy far, far, away. If the latest installment of the Star Wars epic (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) and the six that have come before are of practical value, it is as the world’s longest standing decoder ring for how to live our lives – both as people and employees.

Whether you’ve been doing the Jedi meld since 1977, or you only just got the memo about Luke’s absentee dad, these are the workplace lessons of Star Wars that, by now, we should have all taken to heart.

It’s a Fictional Galaxy.

Your office may not be populated by green wrinkled creatures or throat-singing bigfoots. Or maybe it is. Either way, the workplace can seem like its own kind of Death Star. Things like getting in before dawn, submitting endless time sheets, and staying late because of a shift snafu are probably not your idea of the ideal universe. But remember: when we bellied up to the cantina for some blue milk, we signed on for the physics of an immersive Empire where we must make allowances. When you’re the boss, you can allow Wookies in the snack room. Until then, take the strange rules of physics of the office in stride this year.

Be a Loyal Droid.

R2-D2 would always put himself on the line for C-3PO despite their many differences. Stepping up in the workplace, volunteering to help with projects, and playing Threepio to an overworked Artoo is one of the best ways to shine up your golden reputation in 2016. Being a leader means not blaming others for mistakes and missed deadlines, so resolve to take responsibility this year. You’ll gain co-workers’ trust and get noticed by the Jedi master as well.

There’s Always Another Sequel.

The workplace can feel like one of culture’s most successful franchises – there’s always a sequel, and we all have to go in again Monday. That means you have a second chance to right an egregious wrong (unless that wrong is Jar-Jar Binks). Some of the worst indiscretions can be smoothed over with acknowledgement and apology. But don’t wait 10 years – we all lose our cool or act like a princess (cinnamon buns and all), but the sooner you acknowledge you got up on the wrong side of the galaxy the better. Heed well: a simple “I’m sorry” to a co-worker or supervisor – in English, not a series of beeps – goes a long way to repairing damaged work relationships.

It’s a Democracy, not a Dictatorship.

No matter what your job is, being an employee is like being part of an energy field that binds the galaxy together. The more you can work as a team, the better armed everyone is to fight evil forces. Besides, what good is dominion when it leaves you high and dry with your knee-high boots on? This year, let the tenets of team playing be your guide. Try to listen, especially if you are a manager or supervisor. Most employees just want to be heard. Certain Stormtrooper coming in late every Monday? See what you can do to help with the challenges of her family schedule – finding a solution together can help side-step frustration and keep everyone from turning to the dark side.

Be the Hero of Your Own Journey.

Sure, it’s 2016, but life is no different than it was long, long ago – in this universe, you control your own future. If boredom at work is setting in, train like a Jedi, or take class in saber-swinging that will help you snag that new position or promotion. If work is overwhelming, set a meeting with the Sith lord in the corner office to discuss your ideas for how work could be better distributed. Mentor a young ewok, or ask for that raise (Deserve, I do!). Remember, when you face down your fears, you almost always come back smarter and stronger. So don’t get encased in carbonite this year – take on a new challenge instead. The force is definitely with you.

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