A lot is made of Darth Vader’s management style by fans of the Star Wars series. Everyone gets a thrill out of his willingness to choke his subordinates into submission and death when they fail him. Nearly everyone who has ever craved the power to do so with impunity has envied this command ability.
However, it betrays a fatal flaw in Vader’s character that is oft overlooked.
Vader Was Never Meant To Command
He was groomed for command. The Emperor wanted him to command. But the very things that made us love Vader as a character made him a terrible commander at his core.
As enjoyable as it is to choke someone out who fails you, because it conveys how little you tolerate failure, think of the other messages it sends. You have disregard for the lives of those who serve you. You consider people expendable cogs. You don’t consider feedback a necessary piece of management, but punishment.
Further, think of how much it actually paralyzes the command chain. Once you get a couple chokings out there, word spreads not just not to f*** up, but that Vader never tells people what it is that they’re f***ing up until it’s too late. I don’t know about you, but I’d be terrified to make a decision.
“What should we do?”
“I don’t know, but I’m pretty sure you’re the one that should do it.”
—Theoretical Conversation at Imperial HQ
If Vader had instead at least offered some sort of feedback, or possibly just wounded the mildly incompetent, you have a different landscape where people are willing to take responsibility for their actions. I imagine promotions are turned down in the Empire at an alarming rate if there’s an option.
You’d also cut down on back-stabbing d-bags like Piett. Everyone has an affection for him because he survives an error, but let’s face it. He maneuvered Ozzel into a position to get killed. So Vader’s obvious (invisible) hand at fast-tracking promotions motivated people to get their superiors whacked.
Therefore, it turns the military into a much more political organization, which probably explains why the Imperial one was so inept as to be able to let a beat up YT 1300 continually get away from them.
Anyway, that’s my take. Am I off-base about Vader here?