What Darth Vader can teach us about support?

I recently got a new SatNav and my two sons persuaded me to download the Darth Vader voice. It was a bit of a giggle being told “take the left, it is the way of the Sith” and “I find your lack of faith disturbing.”

This morning I was driving on my own and found myself smiling as I took a sharp bend and Darth said “Impressive, very impressive” and as the journey progressed, “you are getting stronger.”

Now I recognise that it would be a very sad state of affairs if I were to rely on a SatNav to affirm my worth and I could definitely teach Darth a thing or two about being specific in his feedback, but it did get me thinking about how important it is to receive support and encouragement particularly when your journey is a challenging one.

Agreed destinations, clear guidance, and on-going support and encouragement are vital, and available to many of us in the form of great teachers, outstanding managers and inspirational leaders, but that isn’t always the case.

If you are a leader or manager, what are you actively and consistently doing to let your team know they are on the right track, are contributing value and supporting you in your wider goals? How confident are you that they know exactly what it is that you appreciate about them and the work they produce?

If you are an individual contributor, where do you turn to for your support?  When your manager isn’t giving you the feedback you need, who else can become your cheerleader and guide?  Look for friends, family, colleagues, other managers or coaches who can help you recognise where you add value, identify your personal and professional strengths and who can support you when the going gets tough.

You don’t have to cross to the dark side, or rely on a SatNav to feel good.

And remember managers, it’s far more energising  to hear “You are achieving your destiny” than to hear “You have reached your destination.”

14 Responses to What Darth Vader can teach us about support?

  • Nice blog Julie.

    Feedback – such a simple thing really, yet the difficulty comes when you consider that each person needs tailored feedback. For some, an email might suffice, for others, a one to one might be needed.

    Tailored feedback (how it’s actually delivered) for members of your team is as important as the message itself.

    Thanks for the opportunity to share.


  • Sometimes I feel that I want to work alone. I need motivation and encouragement. Thanks for the great posts Julie.

  • My son has recorded his voice on my sat nav. He uses funny voices and phrases too. It always makes me smile when I hear it! We all need motivation and encouragement. Thank you for your great posts.

  • We all need praise and encouragement. Yet it’s often neglected in the workplace. Why is that, when it costs nothing and inevitably reaps rewards?

    • Yes, you’d think particularly in the present climate more people would be searching for no cost ways, highly effective ways of demonstrating their support for staff and showing how much they are valued. There’s probably a myriad of things getting in the way.
      Here’s my “starter for ten”
      1. Fear of sounding patronising
      2. The attitude of “why should I go out of my way to thank them for doing their job?”
      3. Simply forget in the midst of the day to day pressures
      4. Think they already do
      5. Don’t value it or recognise its impact
      6. Think they will come across as a soft touch and people will take advantage

      What do you think stops people giving praise and encouragement?

  • Very true we need encouragement. I tend to use a lot of verses from the bible. Jesus is a contant encouragement. If you truely willing to let go and let God you will see amazing things. This doesn’t mean you don’t do your part and do the work, but don’t feel like you need to figure it out have all the answers on your own

  • Dear July, taking the commenting feature of a GPS system is a good analogy. Sometimes – if it’s switched on because you can turn it off – it’s too much the “how to”, “what not” (speed) advises to my taste. Normally it’s therefore switched off in my car. But – and it’s an important but – if I approach a new target address, I switched it on and pay attention what it tells me. So, the narrow GPS example is IMO good for the new projects and/or to the new/inexperienced staff members. For rutin jobs and to experienced staff-members I would take out sparingly the praising elements from the GPS system. That is, the deepness/extension of the usage-analogy is depending on the situation and the players’. experience in the situation (similarly a bit like in the Blanchard situation based management). Anyhow, LOL, it’s an enlightening story to consider how are we with the follow-up topic.

    • Hi Miklos. You make some great points. It reminds me of the skill will model that I often introduce to managers. It helps them find the balance between giving instructions and giving guidance or praise depending on the staff members level of skill, experience, confidence and willingness in relation to the task.

  • Very good, Julie. I feel I could travel with you a long way.

  • Synergy is a good flow of motivation! :))

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