All Leaders Need a Wookiee

March 19, 2012 11 Comments



Every great leader needs their own Wookiee.  They’re extremely useful.  They can carry around robots, knock out stormtroopers, and co-pilot wicked awesome smuggler spaceships.  On top of that, they usually have long, luxurious brown hair (how has Chewbacca not landed a Clairol endorsement yet?).

No, I haven’t lost it.  All leaders need their own Wookiee.  First, allow me to explain the characteristics of Wookiees that leaders will find attractive and helpful.  Second, I’ll explain how you can unleash those Wookiee talents for the good of your team.

When you figure out who your Wookiee is, let them know that.  You should share your assessment with them so they understand what you expect from them and how valuable they are to you as a member of your team.  If you want to expand your Star Wars leadership skills beyond managing a Wookiee, you can read this post about what Han Solo can teach you about leadership.

There are five things you’re looking for in your Wookiee:

Wookiees Have Unexpected Skills

Seriously – the first time you saw Chewbacca, you didn’t immediately think “I’ll bet he’s awesome at flying star ships at warp speed.”  You totally underestimated him.  When identifying your own Wookiee, take time to know that person well and understand all the skills they can bring to the table.  Give your Wookiee the opportunity to use their skills in important situations.  Let them use those unknown talents and create the opportunities for them to do so.

Wookiees Won’t Take Your Crap

Just because you say something doesn’t mean your Wookiee will always agree.  They have their own opinions and they’re not afraid to voice them.  GRRRNNHNHHHNNNN!  Your Wookiee will occasionally have a dissenting opinion and they will share it.  To get the most out of this Wookiee trait, be sure to listen carefully and understand what the point of contention is (if you don’t listen, they’ll just rip your arms off).  Once you understand their concern, hash things out quickly but productively then move into action.  You can’t lose with a Wookiee by your side fighting for the same objective you are.

Wookiees Shut Up and Do

When the blasters started blazing, Chewbacca was the kind of guy to jump into the fray.  There wasn’t a lot of conversation between him and Han – Chewie was a Wookiee of action.  Look around at your team members.  Which one is the one who understands the mission quickly and has a bias toward action?  That’s your Wookiee.  To get the most out of them, give them clear direction and get out of their way.  Wookiees don’t like to be micromanaged.  They want to be turned loose so they can get the job done.

Wookiees are Team Players

Chewbacca wasn’t about the personal glory.  He was all about kicking stormtrooper ass and saving the galaxy.  He knew where he fit on the team and consistently put the team’s goals ahead of his own safety.  Your wookiee should have the same trait.  Avoid the glory-hounds.  Look for the person who always does what’s right for the team even if it might not be the best thing for them.  To get the most out of this trait, be sure to reward their participation and selflessness (even Wookiees like the occasional medal at  Alliance award ceremonies).  Give your Wookiee the resources they need to get the job done and watch them put the team on their back and execute the mission.

Wookiees are Fiercely Loyal

No matter what kind of stupid scrape Han Solo got himself into, his loyal Wookiee companion was always ready to help him out of a jam.  Your Wookiee is the kind of person who will defend you when you’re not around.  They’ll stand by your side and take the hits right along with you.  The way you can get the most out of this Wookiee characteristic is to be just as loyal to your Wookiee as they are to you.  If they know you’ve got their back, they will always cover yours.

You Need a Wookiee

In all seriousness – reflect on the above traits.  Is there someone on your team who has those characteristics?  If not, find and hire someone who does.  If there is someone with those traits, are you getting the most out of them you can?

Get yourself a Wookiee.  Your odds of being successful are much higher if you have one of those big walking carpets standing by your side.

Mike Figliuolo at thoughtLEADERS, LLC

11 Responses to “All Leaders Need a Wookiee”

  1. Ralph says:

    Hilarious Mike and spot on point. The relationship between Han and Chewy was awesome.That’s the way to analogize a leadership point of vew.

  2. Chris Jones says:

    Another trait I like? You can torture them, and three seconds after you stop, they’re already putting your ‘droids back together. They just keep going.

  3. This is wonderfully geeky – I never knew I could learn so much about being on a team from a Wookiee! I like the point that Chewbacca won’t take your crap. It’s so important for people on a team to say what they think and dissent if they don’t agree.

  4. christophe says:

    Well done Mike, as usual!

    I know who that person is, and I also know that without this person, my galaxy would have taken over 10 times by the dark side and I will be cryogenic sampling long ago by all the Darth out there, and yes the grhnnnnnnnnn is one of the most important part of the Wookies, they don’t want to say nice things to make you feel good!

    And like Han, be loyal to your Wookie, come back and rescue him too!

  5. Scott says:

    Perfect Wookiee analogy. Wookiees rock.

  6. Audra August says:

    This was very clever. I might also add that all Wookiees need a Yoda 🙂 Great talent always benefit from wise mentors. A great post!

  7. AlexF says:

    Based on the article in Business Insider I read earlier today, seems like Wookie = GenX employee. Wonder what characters from Star Wars GenY and Boomers would be? Laugh it up hairball. 🙂

  8. Kent says:

    Some of the best wookies out there are Senior Chiefs and First Sergeants… I’ve had the pleasure of working with a number of them.

  9. Ely Chan-Hosea CPA says:

    I rate this a 10 out of 10.

    I hope my Han Solo realizes that I am his WOOKIE. I am a very well-dressed Wookie, not a walking carpet. LOL!
    I don’t take crap but occasionally beat the crap out of my boss mentally (maybe should try ripping his arms off – anyone with an idea of how I can do this without sending him to the ER?)

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