I asked a question on our Facebook page and twitter account which was; “Who is the greatest leader in the history of Star Wars?” I got some great answers from “George Lucas,” to “General Jan Dodonna” but I was surprised to see how many people said Palpatine.
Now I would hardly call Palpatine a “great leader” because I think that true leadership implies good moral intent. Some might say that Palpatine and the Sith had/have a “greater good, bring-order-to-the-galaxy” intent but they don’t. Sidious was purely selfish.
Having said all of that, Palpatine was a master manipulator of people. So here I present to you 3 principles for “winning friends and influencing people… according to Darth Sidious.”
I say “friendship” in quotations because true friendship is selfless not manipulative. However, You know what? Palpatine was an expert friend-maker. He was so good at pretending to be trying to help the Jedi and the republic as much as possible when he really wasn’t.
One of the easiest ways to befriend someone is to make them feel important, to flatter them. It’s amazing to me how vulnerable Anakin was to flattery. All it would take was a constant stream of false compliments and he was BFFs with old Palps.
Palpatine was observant. It’s not enough to just throw some compliments at someone, you have to watch them carefully to figure out what their weaknesses are, to find out what buttons to push. Anakin felt that the Jedi and Obi Wan were “HOLDING HIM BACK!” so you’d hear Palpatine say things like “It’s not a story the Jedi would’ve told you” and “I would worry about the collective wisdom of the counsel if they didn’t select you for this assignment.” Once you know someone well, that’s when you can best exploit them.
Safety and security
It’s the political season so I can’t help but think of broken promises.
Broken promises work better than no promises at all. Palpatine knew that if he was able to portray the Jedi as a great threat to the galaxy, then the people would flock to him the the name of “safety and security”.
The emperor was indeed a master planner but in the end, his overconfidence was his weakness.
Host of the Star Wars Report podcast, Tech enthusiast, former CAP cadet. Opinions are my own and do not represent those of… well… other people.