What 'Moana' can teach us about leadership

Posted December 14, 2016

MAUI is a demigod—half god, half mortal, all awesome. Charismatic and funny, he wields a magical fishhook that allows him to  shapeshift into all kinds of animals and pull up islands from the sea. Featuring Dwayne Johnson as the voice of Maui, Walt Disney Animation Studios' “Moana” sails into U.S. theaters on Nov. 23, 2016. ©2016 Disney. All Rights Reserved. (Deseret Photo)

Those hoping to build an effective leadership style may want to see “Moana.”

The new hit Disney film, which tells the story of young heroine Moana who goes on a cross-sea voyage with a retired demigod and other faithful sidekicks, has received a number of positive reviews so far.

Vox called Moana “an emotional, funny story worthy of its luminous heroine.” The Verge said it’s “the perfect Disney movie.” It has a 96 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes and a 92 percent approval rating from audiences.

Caroline Siede of Quartz said the film proves to be a perfect combination of the other Disney princess stories that came before it and may help people find the right leadership style.

Moana's empathy, according to Siede, allows her to be an effective leader. She’s a good listener and can speak to her companions, like the super-macho demigod Maui, in a way where they’re willing to confide in her.

“She breaks down Maui’s walls by spotting a meaningful tattoo on his back and using it as a point of connection. Maui’s impressed by Moana’s physical prowess, but it’s her compassion that forges a real partnership between the two,” Siede wrote.

Moana, because of these traits, may serve as a perfect role model for those in leadership roles.

“In many ways, Moana builds on archetypes of previous Disney heroines," Siede wrote. "She has Ariel’s independence, Belle’s intelligence, Pocahontas’ sense of duty and Mulan’s strategic mind. But she weaves those threads together better than any of her predecessors. And in doing so, Moana argues that leadership doesn’t just have to look like aggressive men giving forceful commands. It can also look like a young woman reaching out with compassion.”

You can read more over at Quartz.


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