Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Leadership Qualities

"I have been up against tough competition all my life. I wouldn't know how to get along without it."
~Walt Disney
Walt Disney is a legend; a folk hero of the 20th century. His worldwide popularity was based upon the ideas which his name represents: imagination, optimism, creation, and self-made success in the American tradition. He brought us closer to the future, while telling us of the past. Can you imagine a world that was not touched by Walt Disney? Walt Disney transformed the entertainment industry into what we know today. He pioneered the fields of animation, and found new ways to teach, and educate. Walt Disney exemplifies the meaning of leadership.

A turning point in Disney's life was a result of his time spent in World War I. Upon his return,  Disney set his sights on his passion of creating dreams and bringing reality to his fantasies. Walt Disney was a man with high Emotional Intelligence – his strong leadership
qualities were very pragmatic because of his understanding of the people around him. He believed that you should never stop dreaming, as it leads to the formation of new ideas and gives you a sense of purpose and direction. Though he suffered huge setbacks in his life, he had the courage to keep going on. His story of struggle and success teaches us an important leadership lesson – leaders need to have the tenacity to chase a dream or goal. This is what will make a true leader stand apart. This person should be the motivating factor to urge his team on towards the finishing line. The leader should encourage others to make their dreams a reality.

A hands-on leader and always a risk taker, Walt Disney was driven by his passion to advance animation and create the ultimate production. Constantly extending the boundaries of technology, Disney was confident enough in himself to empower his subordinates and delegate tasks to others. Above all else, Disney understood that change was essential to maintain success. That is why nearly 45 years since his death; his empire remains dedicated to his dream and as profitable as his vision. This is the symbol of a true leader.


Thomas, B. (1986). Walt Disney: Magician of the movies. New York, NY: Grosset & Dunlap.


  1. I hold Walt Disney in high esteem as a leader and visionary in his field of art and entertainment. He was committed to his vision and dream and society has benefited significantly because of it. Minus the lines, the Disney Parks are quite spectacular!

    The quote you chose regarding competition, as the caption on your blog, readily applies to both Walt Disney and Mike Krzyzewski. Competition is a valuable forum to facilitate success and develop leadership. Walt Disney and Coach K share some similarities of quality leadership. Both Disney and Krzyzewski regard themselves as educators. Coach K actually aspired to be a teacher, and by all accounts, he is a true educator on and off of the basketball court. Both men also realized that change is essential to maintaining success. Each player and team is different from his predecessors in the game of basketball. Disney disregarded complacency and embraced change in the pursuit of his dreams.

    It is a very secure and confident leader who can empower his subordinates to assume responsibility and decision-making while under his tutelage. Walt Disney and Mike Krzyzewski believe in empowering those closest to them

  2. Walt Disney was an exceptional leader! Last year for our eighth grade awards program, I told the story of Walt Disney. I emphasized his vision, work ethic, and commitment to his goal. I actually used the same quote you have at the top of this blog. It inspires me each time I read it. The last sentence of your first paragraph truly does exemplify Walt Disney's leadership. Achieving the dream was ambitious, but the growth of his dynasty 45 years after his death defines his leadership.

    Oprah Winfrey has also been a visionary. She has created a dynasty in the media and continues to touch lives through different mediums. Oprah decided early in her career that she was not going to fit into the TV anchor 'mold,' but rather be herself and empower millions of people to live better lives. Oprah also believes that failure makes you stronger. She had to overcome many obstacles, but she prepared herself for opportunities to make her dream a reality. Both Oprah Winfrey and Walt Disney's reality has far surpassed their dream. People believe in their vision because it creates a better world for all of us.