Buzz Lightyear

"To infinity and beyond"
The Toy Story 3 character Buzz Lightyear is a dynamic space ranger, who rises to every challenge with his various gadgets. He is extremely loyal to his friends and is the protector within the group.

Although Buzz's main mission is to defeat Emperor Zurg, his goal is to keep his friends together.  Presenting as fearless and brave, Buzz has an organised and logical approach to the situations which present themselves. Using his creative thinking and problem solution skills, he overcomes any barriers and obstacles that come his way.


In Toy Story 3, the toys find themselves in a Sunnyside Daycare without Woody. In Woody's absence, the other toys look to Buzz for leadership.  Buzz takes on this responsibility, listening to their concerns and using his problem solving techniques to find a solution.

During this time, Buzz's factory settings are reset and as such he experiences the self actualisation process in order to develop into the toy he once was. Maslow (1943) cited in Mullins (2007) states that self actualisation is the realisation of one's potential and this is part of Maslow's hierarchy of needs.  Although this theory is shown as a series of steps, it is not necessarily a fixed order.  Buzz comes to realise that his most important goal is to keep his friends/family together.

Throughout the film, Buzz displays a functional approach to leadership, which focuses on the leader's actions and behaviour and its affect on others.  Adair (Association of Credit Professionals, 2013) suggests that leadership is a skill which can be learnt.  Buzz shows himself to be an Action-Centred Leader.  Adair (1979) states that there are three core actions for an Action Centred Leader to be successful; Task, Team and Individual. Using this approach, Buzz focuses on completing the task whilst motivating the group, providing clear communication. Throughout he also provides encouragement and praise to individuals whose ideas and support have contributed to achieving the task in hand.


Buzz Lightyear's namesake is Buzz Aldrin, who was part of the 1st American Astronaut Team to land on the moon.  Since then Buzz Aldrin has been the leader of various projects at NASA and is the forefront spokesperson on future space exploration.


Buzz Lightyear also appears to share some of the leadership traits of Buzz Aldrin.  Both are brave, courageous, seeing everything as a challenge that can be overcome.  Creative thinkers, they come up with solutions to any barrier or crisis they face.

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