We’re All Padawan Learners


By Linda Fisher Thornton

With the new Star Wars movie being released this month, my family and I recently watched all six of the original Star Wars movies in one week. It was an intense movie marathon, and watching them all in the order they were released gave us a unique perspective. 

Have you ever noticed that no matter how many times the forces of good overcome the forces of evil in the Star Wars movies, there is always another challenge? There is never a moment when the characters “arrive” and are exempt from ethical challenges. They can never let down their guard.

Why? Because power can corrupt or it can be used for good. In the six original Star Wars movies, we see what happens when a Padawan learner (Luke) is humble and stays the course, always open to learning. We also see what happens when a Padawan learner (Vader) thinks he has “arrived” and is no longer willing to learn from others. 

We are all Padawan learners on the ethical journey. We are subject to making mistakes, and we must continually learn to stay ahead of our ethical challenges.

The surprising truth is that we are all also teachers. Others are watching our choices and learning from us. 

As others observe our choices, how will they see us choosing to use our power?

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About Linda Fisher Thornton
Linda Fisher Thornton is Founder and CEO of Leading in Context, and author of the award-winning book 7 Lenses. She teaches as Adjunct Assoc. Prof. for University of Richmond SPCS. She is leading a movement to help leaders and organizations Unleash the Positive Power of Ethical Leadership.

6 Responses to We’re All Padawan Learners

  1. Pingback: January 2016 Leadership Development Carnival - Lead Change

  2. Anil Jain says:

    This is very true Linda. Scores of CXOs fall for this trap and their organisations suffer for it, their teams pay the penalties for their fallibility.
    Very apt and well spotted I must say.


  3. Pingback: Lead Change Group | January 2016 Leadership Development Carnival

  4. Thank you for your comments Laura! Glad the post was relevant and you could relate to it.


  5. Laura Madden says:

    Great simplicity once again Linda. I really appreciate how you use analogy and practical experience to teach leadership lessons. Over the years I have used this technique to advocate for collaboration and consensus on challenging projects. Creating a connection through association and understanding is SO powerful! Thank you for putting it in terms people can relate to and understand.


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