This is the second in a series of posts focused on leadership and how it relates to characters in some of my favorite sci-fi movies. Jyn Erso may not be a character you are familiar with, unless you are a Star Wars nerd, like me. Jyn is one of the main characters in the movie Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Jyn happens to be the daughter of the man the Empire forces to design the Death Star. You don’t have to be a Star Wars fan to know the Death Star is not one you wish on. Her father hides her from the Empire, when she was fairly young, which makes her life very difficult. Through a chain of events, she ends up with the Rebels, who wants to use her connection to a man that has information related to her father. Jyn sees a message, made by her father, saying he designed a weakness in the Death Star. After the Rebels learn of the power of the Death Star, Jyn trys to convince the council to fight, but there is too much opposition, based in fear, to take action. This leads me to the first leadership lesson. Jyn spoke up for what she believed was right, even when everyone didn’t agree. She saw someone needed to end the threat, posed by the Empire, and it led to a small band of Rebels rallying to her side. Sometimes leadership means being the one person who sees what needs to be done and says I’m going to make it happen. This is also called courage. It may go against the wisdom of the room and what you face may be very scary, but if no one takes leadership over the situation, the alternative can be disastrous. As the band of rogue Rebels is about to land at the enemy base, she recognizes the heaviness of the moment and rallies the group. She lays out the plan of attack and gives them hope their mission will meet its objectives. It’s one thing to be the only person willing to step into a leadership role, but if you can’t rally anyone to your cause, you are going to have to fight your battles alone. I don’t recommend fighting battles on your own – even Luke Skywalker needed help. Ultimately Jyn’s mission to get the Death Star plans, to the Rebels, was successful, but it cost her her life. She knew that was a possibility going into the mission. Leadership doesn’t always include life-risking scenarios, but it does mean sacrifices may be necessary in order to accomplish the goal. Sacrifices may include time, energy, comfort, or finances, for example. There are no promises leadership will be easy, especially when you are facing resistance, or the Empire, but the results can have a lasting positive impact on more people than you will realize.
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