Star Wars and The Belbin Team Roles
A long time ago, in a management team far, far away …… etc, etc.
With the much anticipated Episode 7 soon to be launched, we thought it would be fun to refresh our inner Star Wars Geeks.
Many of us have grown to love the characters created by George Lucas for his Star Wars epics, and we have also engaged with their onscreen stories.
What many fans are perhaps less aware of, is that Lucas (pretty clearly a Plant) drew heavily from mythological archetypes to better inform his character development when crafting these now well-known characters.
He consulted a great deal with his friend, and famous mythologist and folklorist Joseph Campbell. Lucas explored the depths of Campbell’s famous works such as “The Hero With 1000 Faces” to better understand the journey of the hero.
For fans of Campbell’s work, the insights into the “Hero’s Journey” can be seen in the traits of many of the main Star Wars characters such as Luke Skywalker, Obi Wan Kanobe and Anakin Skywalker / Darth Vader.
There is therefore a good deal of “truth” that underpins each of the major characters with regards to their strengths and weaknesses. Like many well-written characters from fiction, they have been drawn from a blend of real life examples and also classic hero or villain archetypes from folklore and mythology.
For example the wise and noble Obi Wan, who is a subtle blend of the classic Arthurian Knight and a Samurai Master. This manifests in his disciplined, wise and decisive bearing both as an elite warrior and a philosophical seeker of higher truth.
So even though we may firmly be within the realm of science fiction, how might some of the Star Wars characters match up with the Belbin Team Role types, as they too are descriptive of deeper behavioural clusters to be found in all teams and situations?
Like all of us, these characters are not just slotted into one Team Role style, but rather can be a unique blend of several that define their contribution to their own communities, teams and groups (and also their weaknesses).
In a nutshell we have pondered, discussed and debated some of the main characters into the following Team Roles.
Anakin Skywalker / Darth Vader, Obi Wan Kanobi , Emperor Palpatine, Luke Skywalker
Han Solo, Lando Calrissian, Boba Fett, Qui Gon Jinn
Grand Moth Tarkin, Princess Leia, Obi Wan Kanobi, Qui Gon Jinn, The Emperor
Princess Leia, Anakin Skywalker / Darth Vader, Han Solo
Master Yoda, Master Mace Windu
Padme Amidala, C-3P0, Shmi Skywalker
Chewbacca, R2D2, C-3P0, Darth Maul, Jengo Fett, The Stormtroopers
Owen Lars, Master Yoda, Darth Vader, R2D2, C-3P0
Master Yoda, Master Mace Windu, The Emperor, Admiral Piett
And here’s why we think so….
(creative, unorthodox, independent thinker, visionary, inventive, dreamers)
Anakin Skywalker demonstrates Plant traits early in life with his innovative designs. In his early years, such as in “Episode 1” Anakin possessed an ability to create something innovative from nothing, i.e he built a pod racer which took out the championship beating Sebulba in a custom made craft.
An independent thinker and in his own right and quite unorthodox, he also built the loveable Human Cyborg Relations Android C-3P0 (so perhaps some Specialist is there also?).
The Emperor Palpatine is a dark visionary Plant of sorts, with grand visions for the Galaxy and many creative schemes for achieving his aims.
Of course the noble Jedi Master Obi Wan is also quite adept at thinking and looking through complex problems and deriving a creative solutions (even as an Apprentice in Ep 1).
Luke Skywalker is an archetypal hero who strives towards goals arising from his imagination, and is also a dreamer with idealistic visions. He is someone who is keen to break away from the “norm”, spurn the mundane and to forge his own path.
Luke also comes up with some welcome creative strategies and solutions to problems that are perplexing or endangering his team (and is occasionally vague, naïve and out of touch with the pressing realities of the moment in his younger days).
(explorers, negotiators, curious, risk takers, entrepreneurs, influential)
The fast thinking and fast talking Han Solo is certainly a good negotiator.
He is able to wheel and deal, and influence others to get what he wants, as is his friend Lando Calrissean.
As smugglers, pirates and traders they possess the natural ability to be curious and opportunistic, negotiate deals and take risks. Their very nature makes them natural explorers and promoters of their latest interests.
You could also include the Bounty Hunter Boba Fett in this group. Resourceful and and a fierce risk taker, plying his trade of collecting payment for rounding up scoundrels such as the smugglers mentioned above.
Master Qui Gon Jinn is also quite a skilled negotiator with the warm people skills of a good RI when he needs them, but he also appears to temper the lack of follow-through and focus of a typical RI with other role strengths acquired in his Jedi training.
(calm, mature, natural chairperson, managers of talent in others)
Grand Moth Tarkin on the command deck of the Death Star is quite the delegator, and also a natural manager and overseer of the construction of the ultimate weapons platform in the galaxy. He doesn't fluster easily, even when destroying Leia Organa's home planet of Alderaan to attain his team’s goals.
Organa herself also possesses a number of these traits in the early years but softens with time (or is it just the scoundrel Solo’s charm that does this?).
Lando Calrissian also possesses a natural ability to manage and lead. After winning Cloud City in a game of chance, he becomes the a somewhat unwittingly skillful manager of a major facility.
Obi Wan and his Master Qui Gon Jinn also excel at consulting and harnessing the talents of others to complete the mission, but then again, so too does the Emperor who can also be quite a manipulative chap and calmly commanding of his subordinates.
(dynamic, driven, competitive, challenging, bold, blunt, volatile)
Princess Leia demonstrates the emotive tenacity and will to win against all odds of a Shaper as she drives the team from within the vanguard of the rebellion. Never afraid to speak her mind, she stands up to other Shapers and has a firm eye on achieving her and the teams’ objectives.
Anakin / Darth Vader often shows the drive of the Shaper, but also the volatility and ease of provocation that manifest as Shaper weaknesses, and Darth definitely has the uncompromising tenacity to rid the galaxy of the relics of the old republic, one Jedi at a time.
Han Solo as a reluctant hero, often also encompasses the bluntness and volatility of someone who is willing to speak his mind to get his own way. Han also demonstrates impatience with what he may see as the sterile procedures of the Rebel commanders, and just wants to “get on with things”.
(analytical, dispassionate, evaluative, critical thinker)
Yoda is adept at weighing up all options, calculating the risk versus reward and bluntly questioning the ill-considered dreams and plans of characters like the young Luke Skywalker (and before him his Father Anakin).
Master Mace Windu is likewise a good “devil’s advocate” for the overly optimistic plans of others and serves to point out the inherent risks.
In fact all Jedi Masters pride themselves upon removing passion and emotion from their decision-making process to see things with utmost clarity and “just as they are”. In order to keep the ways of the Force alive, removing emotion, passion and bias for good decision-making is to them the most logical way to achieve the mission for their team.
A good Monitor Evaluator may relate to this.
(caring, supportive, good listener, flexible, relationship oriented)
The friendly and compassionate Queen Padme Amidala is always on hand with an ear for the problems and concerns of others, and she also compassionately champions the various causes of her people.
The flexible and ever-supportive C3PO is always helping others over and above his own self-interests and even physical safety (despite his protestations).
Anakin’s mother Shmi Skywalker also has an obvious supportive kindness to her nature, and a sense of self-sacrifice towards not only her own family, but also towards strangers in need.
(well-organised, disciplined, methodical, systematic, dependable, loyal)
The loyalty of Han Solo’s hard working Wookie sidekick Chewbacca is evident in his “behind the scenes” efforts to keep the Millennium Falcon and its many systems functional (even under the worst circumstances).
Darth Maul is also an example of a dutiful and reliable “Implementer” of the plans from his senior management, as is Bounty Hunter Jengo Fett (who serves as the template for all loyal Storm Troopers).
R2D2 also shows the loyalty of a good IMP, as Luke said in Ep4 "I've never seen such devotion in a droid." We may also want to mention the hard working and dependable Ewoks on the Forest Moon of Endor in this category?
(Perfectionist, conscientious, sets high standards, anxious about detail)
The characters that work relentlessly, and sometimes quite anxiously, to get it “just right” with those important fine details.
For example R2D2 (perhaps also 3PO to some extent?) who can be relied upon to check and fix the minute details during the execution of a complex plan (when all others forget the finer points).
Chewbacca also can be relied upon to get things right and follow-through, and perhaps also Luke’s ill-fated Uncle with an eye for perfection, Owen Lars.
Jedi Master Yoda and Boba Fett are both meticulous in their planning to accomplish their separate goals, both are conscientious in their own beliefs and the high standards that they set to achieve them.
Admiral Piett also espouses aspects of this role in his successful landing and ground invasion of the ice planet of Hoth, destroying the shield generators in order for the main body of troops to invade. Piett is careful not to repeat the mistakes made by his predecessor and arouse the fury of Lord Vader’s Shaper.
In fact Darth himself demonstrates some CF tendencies as he is often reticent to delegate, getting hands-on himself in many instances where he wants it done “his way”, and is also quick to pick up the errors of his subordinates.
(Single-minded expert in a particular field, professionally dedicated to their area)
Yoda summed up his Specialist tendencies perhaps best with his quote - "For 900 years have I trained Jedi". Only a true Specialist could stick at something for 900 years.
Mace Windu also has this passion for his field, and indeed any of the accomplished Sith or Jedi Masters (including The Emperor) who have dedicated a lifetime to mastering the obscure and highly specialized Jedi arts.
They also turn their own zeal for learning into becoming a font of knowledge and instruction to their own Padawans / apprentices who are seeking to master this specialized area of martial skills themselves.
C3P0 also seems to become somewhat of a “walking encyclopedia” of Galactic knowledge in his own chosen fields of work., so likely has some SP also.
So when the long-awaited Star Wars 7 finally hits the big screen, let’s see if any of the main characters that we have grown to love have changed the ranked order of their Roles as they mature, or developed and expanded their Team Role repertoires.
“May The Team Roles Be With You”.
Meet “Sabre’s very own Storm Trooper”
Our own subject matter expert (“Specialist”) on all matters “Star Wars” is Sabre Facilitator Jarrod Tetro.
Amongst his many skills (including operational military service as an Officer in the Australian Army, a Police Officer and a Sabre facilitator) is a life-long interest in Star Wars and also membership of the famous “501st Legion”.
We were most fortunate to be able to consult him for this article, and to benefit from his insights and opinions on these characters.
The 501st Legion is a George Lucas approved international fraternity of Star Wars enthusiasts who work tirelessly for charity causes (such as kid’s hospital visitations, charity days and fundraisers) with film accurate costumes and Storm Trooper armour as pictured above.
Although, it is a little hard to pick Jarrod out in this pic as they all tend look the same when in costume?
Check out the 501st Legion (Redback Garrison) website and try to support their charities when you can.
See - www.501st.com.au
CONTACT SABRE - BELBIN AUSTRALIA REP