Decoding Walt Disney: Leadership, Personality Style, Traits, Qualities

Here Are Qualities We Learn From Walt Disney Leadership

Walt Disney was the American entrepreneur, voice actor, animator, writer, and film producer, also the man behind turning the imagination into reality and creating Mickey Mouse and other thousands of amazing cartoons.

Walt Disney created the world-famous Disney World, where everyone is welcome to enjoy their dream regardless of age.

Not only was he a creator behind all of these things but he was also a great leader who brought the imagination to the real world even though it was considered a foul imagination at his time.

With his leadership, style, and skills, Walt Disney proved that anyone could go beyond what he is capable of and bring something magical.

Personality Style Of Walt Disney

Walt Disney or Walter Elias Disney is one of the most inspirational personalities in history.

Not just he did do something that no one ever thought a couple could be possible, but he also opened the door of millions of possibilities.

Well, here are some of the points that you should know about Walt Disney.

  • Walt was born on December 5, 1901, in Chicago. 
  • He was the pioneer of the Animation Industry In America, introducing several developments in the production of cartoons.
  • Walt as a film producer has the record of winning 22 Oscars from the 59 nominations, and most number of Academy Awards.
  • His movies are registered in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.

As for his personality traits,  here are the following points that can help :

  • Disney had the personality of insecure,  shy, and self-deprecating but he created a warm and outgoing personality for outsiders.
  • He upheld the characteristics that include courage, confident, honesty, and resistance.
  • The reason why he became useful even when he had an opposite personality in private life, was because he passed on skills and leadership qualities that helped in making him a great leader.
  • He was able to gain trust and with his people skills, he was able to share his thoughts with others.
  • He was confident in his vision, also due to which he had crystal clear thoughts and ideas.
  • He never listens to what others are saying, even when no one thought it would be possible to make something valuable in animation, Walt became the one who created the industry as well as the opportunities that will bring more talented people in the future.

What Are The Lessons That Walt Disney Taught New Leaders?

The Walt Disney Company, a multinational mass media corporation, holds the second-largest broadcasting and cable company all around the world.

And everything started with Walt Disney, the man behind the revolution in the animation industry.

He proved that education and circumstances are not something that dictates what a person can become.

 Not just he became an excellent example but an inspiration for the young generation and the future of the business.

Here are the important lessons that young entrepreneurs are required to learn.

Walt Disney

Be The Salesman

Even though sales have a bad reputation, it’s one of the most important skills that you should master.

Walt said that the one problem he had all of his life is money. Making a dream come true requires a lot of money.

Walt had confidence in himself and the dream, so knew he could convince others as well.

One of the incidents happened when Disney ran out of money when Snow White was in production. The movie got held in half,  his family begged Walt to stop but he didn’t.

He traveled to different producers on his own, showing them the raw footage and asking them to invest.

After releasing, Snowwhite became an instant success and also ushered in the Golden Age of Animation.

Walt says it’s important to be a salesman, a good salesman knows how to sell the product to the person.

For that, it’s important to know what you are selling and for what. Confidence is what makes your product sell more.

Choose Leadership that Focus Inspire, And Innovate

Walt Disney says that even if a person designs and creates the most beautiful and wonderful place in the world, it will take people that can make the dream into reality.

The key to Walt Disney is he is an unreliable storyteller.  And he used that skill in his leadership as well.

Walt tells their people stories, adding so many details that it would become alive for them.

When he was pitching for Snow White, he acted every character, voicing the dialogues and even adding the movements.

He had the talent of adding members to his team who had smarter ways of doing things than him. He doused for hiring the best and the one whom he can afford,

He made sure that every single employee he had in his company should be familiar with him.  Even though he was not someone who complimented others quickly, he was clear with what kind of leadership he wanted to lead.

Improve Always

Whenever Walt had to go for a ride, he used his time to understand what happened with his actions or if something went wrong.

Instead of dismissing the idea, he focused on acknowledging and then improving.

Walt believed that there is a future, he instead Steamboat Willie has the sound which is synced as well as recorded.

At that time, it was not common in cartoons. Also, there was no featured animated film at that time.

After Snow White became a success, it changed the whole industry and also led to successful movies from the Disney classics.

It included Fantasia,  Cinderella, and Alice In Wonderland.

Also instead of resting, he switched the gears and started his own amusement park for the parents as well as their kids.

When Disneyland was officially open, Walt spent his time walking around the area and personally checking all the rides. Making sure if there is something which can be improved.

Walt also took the opinion and thoughts of the visitors.

Get High Tolerance For Risks

Walt Disney taught people that being curious can lead to new things, opening new doors and creating new opportunities.

However, it is important to understand that everything brings new risks and to be successful. It’s important to have a high tolerance for risks.

Walt did take a lot of risks, even selling his personal possessions and mortgage to make things happen.

In 1955, Disneyland was the biggest gamble that anyone ever took in history. Even his family and business partner Roy Disney begged him to not do this.

Nothing like Disneyland ever happened before, so the stakes were so high that if it didn’t work it would have bankrupted the company.

However, today, theme parks are the source of billions of revenue and have millions of visitors every year.

Believe In Yourself Even Others Don’t

Walt Disney is one of those personalities who believed in themselves even when the world called him crazy.

According to him, when a person believes in something, it should be in all ways including implicitly and unquestionably.

Well, Walt had a unique relationship with Roy Disney, his brother and later he became a business partner.

He would pitch the ideas and even Roy says no, Walt does it anyway.

Eventually, Roy gave in and financed the project. As for Walt, throughout his whole life, people called him crazy, and his thoughts were impossible or something which holds no value.

When he was about to make an animated feature film, people told him that no one would watch it.

Also, no actors will mix it with animated movies. Even for the theme park, people tried their best to not let him do it.

Not just that, Walt was told that Mickey Mouse will scare the women, and it won’t work.

Walt proved that even if there is something that nobody ever did before,  it doesn’t mean that it will fail.

Walt Disney says that Impossible words are for those who have small minds and he dreamed big.

With his unshakable belief in what he is doing, Walt did everything he wished for and did it successfully like no one ever did.

Change The Attitude To The Future

Walt Disney failed like a million times in his career.  Laugh O’ Grams, his first studio, failed to gain any profit.

Walt says that whatever he faced, no matter what troubles and obstacles he had to go through, everything made him stronger.

He advised that maybe you don’t know but sometimes getting kicked in the teeth is what you all need.

With Oswald, The Lucky Rabbit, Disney lost almost everything, even his studio, equipment, creation, and animators.

But even after facing such failure, he didn’t let himself feel hopeless.

When he was going back to his home on a train after he got the news that he lost Oswald, Walt Disney created Mickey Mouse.

Resilience is The Best Friend Of Entrepreneurs

As Walt said, the only difference between winning and losing is not quitting.

It took 16 years for Walt to get rights to Mary Poppins. And it’s one of the most iconic films of that era.

However, the problem he faced was to get the rights, as PL Travers was infamous, and he was turned down 302 times when he was looking to get finance from Disneyland.

He was also fired from his job because he was not innovative and creative enough. However, later he owned that company.

According to Walt, Resilience is the best friend that any entrepreneur could have.

The ability to recover from any kind of situation or circumstance is what helped Walt to keep going.

He faced so many problems that any average person would have given up. He pushed hard because he believed.

Walt mentioned the secret behind his success, he said he dreams, then he tests against his belief. He dared himself to take risks and execute to make it come true.

What Are The Leadership Style And Qualities That Made Walt Disney Successful?

Each leader has to follow the leadership style, choosing what actually he wants as these styles help in giving that. Well for Walt Disney,  he was known for following Autocratic Leadership.

This included various behaviors that indicate the style, which are :

  • Walt Disney had a fiery mood, and if someone tried to counter him, he would simply dismiss the person.
  • Apart from this, Disney didn’t try to put much effort into resolving conflicts.
  • Walt Disney had a scary personality which his employees used to fear.

    Whenever he walked through the office or any place, his employees used to leave the area.
  • Even though it’s not clear if he was unfair or just never cared enough for the employees.
  • Disney had a dedicated nature towards the members, but he wanted things to go in his way.

However, Walt Disney had the great leadership qualities that made his dream come true, not just it was successful, but it became one of its own in the whole world.

Well, to make this happen, here are some qualities he used to have.

He Chased His Dreams

Walt Disney did not just have the crazy determination toward his dream, but he chased ways to make it happen anyhow.

Walt Disney wanted to be the animator, not just any simple animator but the greatest one.

However, he was constantly told that the ideas he had will never succeed as they won’t work. No one wanted to invest in something like animation, as it was considered meaningless and they had no confidence if someone wanted to see it or not.

Even when he wanted to make movies based on Mickey Mouse, he was told that it would be the biggest failure as the character would frighten people.

After hearing so much criticism, Walt Disney never let it affect his mind and kept making what he wanted to do.

He Knew Why Risk Are  Important

Walt Disney had a risk-taking personality. That helped him in trying new things without caring about the results.

Walt opened a new world of possibilities and he made sure to move forward, overcoming all the obstacles.

One time, he also gambled his Disney venture and there were a lot of times when Walt and his members had no idea if they were going to lose the company or not.

The proof of having a high tolerance for risks is the opening of Disneyland in 1995 as it is considered as one of the highest gambles in the history of business.

He Made Constant Improvement

Walt Disney put his effort into thinking and finding ways if something went wrong.

If something failed or didn’t work that well, he used to spend his time thinking about the reasons why it went wrong and how he could improve.

Also, he used to check everything on his own before the shows. Even if it’s his animation movies, he kept his eyes to make sure nothing went wrong.

Before Disneyland was started, and on its opening day, Walt Disney checked every ride, operation, and function on his own to keep everything safe and ready for the people.

If there is a project on which Walt is working, he will never leave it because something is not going right,  he will put his best effort into making it right.

He Was Not Sacred To Fail

In creating something like Disney, the leader had to face a lot of failures.

However, with his positive approach, he was not scared of failing or being disappointed.

With his failures, he learned something, and with all of these experiences. Walt believed that he had become stronger.

When he started his first studio, Walt didn’t earn anything or make a profit.

Also, there was a time when Walt ended up losing almost everything that he ever had in his life.

Even after this, he never let himself stop trying what he believed and wanted to do.

He Was Relationship Oriented

If a leader has respect, love, and understanding from his followers,  there is nothing that can stop him from becoming successful.

Walt was the same; even though he had a bit of a different personality, his employees were loyal to him.  As for Walt, he was dedicated to them and had a good relationship.

Walt made sure that the requirements and needs of the workers were always met.

He also remembered the names of every worker and tried his best to make them committed to the work as well as the dream he was chasing.

What Are The Traits And Skills Walt Disney Had?

Walt Disney had a long struggle and a lot of hard work to make his dream come true.

Not only did he have to improve every step but convincing others to invest in something they didn’t believe was tough.

But Walt had the traits and skills which helped him to do that, also he continued with his ideas and journey to do more better things.


Walt Disney had confidence even when no one believed in him.

One of the signs of best leaders as having confidence is of utmost importance especially when leaders are the ones who have to take the final calls.

Walt never showed a sign of hesitation regarding his actions, which made his followers boost their confidence in themselves.

It also helped in not shaking the commitment that they had in the workplace.

He was without doubt one of the most confident leaders. He bevered put reluctance after making the final decisions

Even if it was risky or a gamble, he put his positive thoughts and approach.

Walt believes in confidence in leading as it will make people competent and that’s what will reach everyone to their goals.


A leader who has curiosity can help him in going beyond what he knows.

Also, it helps to move forward and explore to what extent he can go and improve his capabilities.

And that is what Walt Disney did, his curiosity is also shown in his characters as well.  Walt tried his best to move forward and do things that can be new.

Walt was discouraged by his people as they told him that switching from making the animation to starting the amusement park is a bad idea.

However he didn’t let it affect him and did it anyway, and the results are in front of everyone.


Walt Disney had an amazing combination of patience and perseverance.

There is nothing he didn’t face while he was working hard to make his dream come true.

He got fired from his job. Walt’s family criticized him, including his life partner.

Along with this, he had several failures and struggled hard to find investors, also he had rejections from people.

The number of people who criticized and didn’t believe in his idea was too long.

Good In Communication

Even though Walt was the Autocratic leader, he made sure that everyone was getting his messages without any confusion or doubt.

Because of which he put the effort into making his communication skills improve more.


Walt Disney has rare skills which make him an outstanding storyteller.

The way he tells the story is something no one ever did. The style and the way are different to date. 

Walt had creative thoughts that were never-ending, he mastered the skills to show everyone how the characters can be in different voices and have experienced.

Also with his storytelling and creativity, he proved wrong to those who said animated movies can be worth watching or motivating.


Walt had highly persuasive skills that helped in convincing others and selling his ideas.

Well, he did have a  huge amount of rejection. But he improved his ability to convince the investors, employees, and customers.

Also, he had the power of convincing people, he was always ready with opening words that could put people at ease and genuinely interested in what he wanted to say.

Apart from this, Walt Disney had the skills that made him an inspiring leader. But also someone who made the impossible come true by believing in himself and motivating every step.

Disney had the skills that played an important role, here are what includes:

Walt Disney Skills
  • Integrity –  Walt had integrity which helped him in gaining the trust of others.
  • Vision – Walt was crystal clear when it came to what he wanted to be in his future and where he wanted to take his business.
  • People Skills – Walt had the talent of getting the best out of others; he put his focus and attention so others could be efficient.
  • Humility – Walt had the skill that made him eager to learn more; regardless of who that person is, he will learn something.
  • Team Building – One of the skills that helped in improving, he invited the people around him to test the ideas so he could be sure if it was workable or he had to put more effort.
  • Detailed – Before anything goes official, Walt made sure that it’s completely perfect and ready. For that, he did the detailing check.
  • Excellence –  He was fanatically committed to excellence in what he did and offered.
  • Courageous – The leader was courageous to adopt new ideas and develop something amazing without fearing failure.

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