Deriving lessons from a children’s movie may seem like a stretch, but when the movie is The Lion King the correlations are far from exaggerated. Take a playful glance at this Disney classic and all you will garner great leadership lessons.
At Stevens-Henager College, we strive to foster a sense of leadership and growth in our students. We understand that we are educating the future leaders of the business administration and healthcare industries as well as the leaders among other fields.
Drawing on our tradition of producing leaders, and with a little help from a couple of Disney characters, allow us to outline some of the important traits and skills demonstrated by true leaders that we strive to educate our graduates with. These skills in leadership can be seen in The Lion King through the great and wise Mufasa with a dichotomy in poor leadership seen through his brother Scar.
Primarily, Mufasa was an exemplary leader due to his core ethics and values. A good leader, like those produced at Stevens-Henager College, must exhibit a solid understanding of ethics and have the courage to act according to the dictates of those ethics.
Good ethics in business has become synonymous with soft or Boy Scout business, to use the vernacular. To cutthroat businessmen, who often see great success, such honor in making the ethical choice in business is seen as poor business leadership.
But we believe the opposite. A good and successful business leader will make the ethical choice over the non-ethical in order to preserve the success of their business.
To draw again on the children’s movie to exemplify this principle, examine the methods of Mufasa with that of Scar. Mufasa had a purpose in leading his followers that did not come in conflict with his personal ethics.
He believed that maintaining a pattern in life of healthy give-and-take would secure the future of those who depended upon him. Scar, on the other hand, had no purpose beyond personal gain and created an unethical system that was doomed to fail.
The two styles of leadership, one ethically with longevity and one with a short term gain but at the cost of ethics and sustainability, easily translate into personal styles of leadership. A good leader will maintain integrity and ethics because they understand that upon those principles a solid and long standing business or organization can be built while a poor self-indulging leader will create short term, unethical methods of success that will inevitably bring failure.
image credit: Ian Sane
Megan Wickes is a graduate of the Master in Business Administration (MBA) program. She currently works for Stevens-Henager College, managing its online presence. In addition to her love of marketing, Megan enjoys wakeboarding, boating, and spending time with her husband and new baby boy.