The Leadership of Walt Disney Essay

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Biographical Study
The Leadership of Walt Disney
This biographical study attempts to demonstrate the ways in which Walt Disney’s leadership influenced his followers through his method of leadership and the extent to which his followers influenced his leadership style. This will be demonstrated with reference to relevant leadership theories, whereby section I shall relate the leadership style of Walt Disney with reference to ‘Transformational Leadership’, and more specifically: ‘Idealised Influence’, ‘Inspirational Motivation’, ‘Intellectual Stimulation’ and ‘Individualised Consideration’. Section II considers ‘Path-Goal Theory’ and section III ‘Contingency Theory’. Section IV deals with ‘Team Leadership’ with reference to
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Overall, through ‘Transformational Leadership’, Walt openly communicated his vision into the infrastructure of Disney and instilled values and a sense of purpose among his employees. With a wanted trust and respect for followers, he was able to encourage and challenge traditional methods to harness better, innovative ways to solutions (Flower 1991). Ruling by consensus, his consideration for the individual needs of his followers made him an ideal teacher and coach for his enterprise (Davis 2008).

II. Path-Goal Theory
Walt Disney saw change as a consequence of employee behaviour (Brownell, 2008). If a leader were to be effective, he or she must understand the needs of a member in an organisation. This also included an awareness of motives, personalities, skills, and abilities (See ‘Emotional Intelligence’ in Northouse 2010, p. 23; Brownell, 2008). Path-Goal Theory comprises the motivation of leaders toward subordinates in order that such needs are met and achievement of an organisation’s proposed goal is reached (Northhouse 2010). Walt Disney sustained subordinate involvement and interest through his leadership commitment to employees, as well as his dynamism and enthusiasm (Bryman 1993). After all, “Walt Disney’s greatest creation was not Fantasia, [n]or Snow White, but...his uncanny ability to make people happy” (Collins and
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