This Blog considers how leadership behaviours can be identified in the film Toy Story 3. We consider the key characters and draw out their individual and collective leadership traits.

Going the extra mile for your friends, looking out for your colleagues and demonstrating real care for them. Being prepared to have a go and getting the very best out of others in the process. Managing to engender a spirit of trust and loyalty in your group through engaging them, valuing their views, listening intently and acting accordingly. Inspiring people to achieve more than they ever imagined possible and being very clear about the direction of travel. All of these are expressions of what might be deemed great leadership. Add in a sprinkling of humour and brain power, season with the ability to communicate and influence people and you have a powerful recipe for leadership success. 

Toy Story 3 presents us with a wonderful opportunity to identify and tease out many leadership traits. It even affords us a foray into the dark side of leadership where less desirable controlling, devisive and manipulative behaviours come to the fore. From Woody’s transformational leadership style through to have a go heroine Jessie, Buzz Lightyear’s broad shoulders and Dolly’s intelligent and charismatic influence we can all identify with their strengths. Oh, and not forgetting Lotso’s personal crusade which is at odds with the general direction of the group. Put them all in the mixer and collectively they journey through Tuckman's 5 stages of team building.

The adventure starts when an adolescent Andy is going to college taking Woody with him but leaving the other toys behind feeling abandoned. The toys are accidently thrown out and resurface at Sunnyside Daycare where they meet Lotso a devisive character. Woody becomes aware of the situation and makes his way to Sunnyside to help the toys escape. Woody and Buzz rediscover their old compatability and the group pool their combined resources in the ensuing battle with Lotso. In adversity they stick together with Woody finally demonstrating his leadership qualities of foresight to ensure the continuity and longevity of the group. Jessie and Dolly provide a refreshing contrast to Rosener's (1997) 'maleness' traits of leadership. Jessie in particular coming to the fore when with a situation change it was necessary to take on the leadership role.

Maslow, Mullins, Lewin, Hackman, Randell and many more have shared their insights into what makes for good leadership and there are many analogies identified through the analysis of the various characters. On top of all of this there are some thought provoking similarities drawn between the cartoon characters of a pretend world and some real life people in a very real world. 

Follow the link below to see Woody and the team in action:

To test out your leadership skills why not follow the link and try the quiz:

If you would like to assess what sort of team player you are, then why not follow the link to the attached quiz and see if you are someone looking for supremacy or a supporter:

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