Captain James T. Kirk is one of the most well-known captains in the history of Starfleet and there’s a solid reason for that. He saved Earth numerous times, ended the Doomsday Machine, assisted in making peace with the Klingon Empire, keeping the balance of power between the Federation and the Romulan Empire, and even fought the Nazis. On his five-year quest heading the U.S.S. Enterprise and other commands, Captain Kirk was an exemplary leader who led his crew into the unknown and was successful over and over again.
Never Stop Learning
You know the greatest danger facing us is ourselves, an irrational fear of the unknown. But there isn’t any unknown. There’s only what is hidden and not known (paraphrase).
Captain Kirk may have a standing as a smooth ladies’ man, but don’t let that exterior coolness fool you. Kirk’s reputation at the Academy was that of being a “walking stack of books,” in the words of his previous first officer, Gary Mitchell. This passion for learning aided him through numerous missions.
Have Advisors with Different Worldviews
One of the advantages of being a captain is being able to get advice and not having to take it (paraphrase).
Kirk’s closest two advisors were Commander Spock, a Vulcan devoted to a philosophy of logic, and Dr. McCoy, a human guided by empathy and scientific curiosity. Both Spock and McCoy are often at odds with each other, suggesting different courses of action and giving very different types of arguments to defend their point of view. Kirk occasionally goes with one, or the other, or takes their advice as a springboard to forming a whole different course of action.
Organizations that permit for differences of opinion are better at creating innovation, better at resolving problems, and better at avoiding groupthinking. We all need a McCoy and a Spock in our lives and organizations, as well as a Captain Kirk to lead us.