Walt Disney: Leadership Paper

3561 Words Feb 18th, 2015 15 Pages
Introduction Leadership has many meanings, depending who you talk to. This paper will concentrate on leadership as the ability for one to influence others in reaching common goals (Northouse, 2013). The focus of this report is on Walt Disney, a man who demonstrated, both positive and negative leadership throughout his life. The leadership theories which will be focused on for this report include concept of power, trait approach, skills approach, style approach, and transformational leadership will be explored and applied to Disney’s experiences.

Biography Walt Disney was born on December 5, 1901 in Chicago, Illinois. At the age of four, his family moved to Missouri, where his love for drawing and arts developed. When he was 18 he
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Roy carried out the plans to finish the theme park which opened in 1971 (Disney, 2014).
Leadership Analysis
Concept of Power Bertrand Russell (1938) defined power as “the fundamental concept in social science…in the same sense in which energy is the fundamental concept in physics.” Power is the ability for someone to change or control another’s behavior and the potential for one to influence others (Northouse, 2013). A strong leader requires power to motivate their followers to achieve tasks and reach goals. Without some type of power, subordinates would not respond positively to leader’s requests and motivating employees would thus become very difficult. There are two kinds of power, which are personal and positional. Positional power comes from the level of management in an organization compared to subordinates (Northouse, 2013).. As the owner of several studios, Walt Disney could be described as having positional power. Also, according to the Five Bases of Power model, Disney had legitimate power, which came from being an employer. His followers allowed believed that he had the right to influence them because of his higher position. Disney’s legitimate positional power allowed him to push employees to work to their full potential and help reach his goals.

Disney also had personal power because he was well liked and very knowledgeable in his fields of expertise. He had high levels of commitment, as according to one of

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