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What can Donkey from Shrek Teach us about Leadership?

What can Donkey from Shrek Teach us about Leadership?

Donkey’s Leadership Lessons

I don’t know about you, but I LOVED the Shrek movies. Not even when I had my daughter watching them with me. They were great fun for adults too.

You’ll be forgiven for being confused by the title of this blog though – wasn’t Shrek the leader?

In essence, yes, he was. It was Donkey, in my humble opinion though, who showed true leadership.

When we consider what true leadership is, it’s nothing to do with one’s position or title. It’s a set of behaviours that support, encourage, motivate, and inspire the people around you to achieve their goals.

Shrek may have been the “leader”, but it was Donkey who showed leadership – certainly at the beginning.

As loveable a character that Shrek is, in the beginning, he was definitely a grump! He had a goal – to get his swamp back. He stormed in, made a mess, and got caught. It wasn’t until he teamed up with Donkey that his other layers started coming to the fore.

Whilst the comedy element of Donkey was about him annoying Shrek with his inability to keep quiet, it was the time Donkey invested in Shrek, getting to know him that his other, more vulnerable layers started to show themselves. Donkey did this by showing an interest in him, asking him questions, not judging him, and giving him the confidence to be his true self.

It was Donkey that encouraged him to open up about his thoughts and feelings, it was Donkey that taught him the value and importance of forgiveness.

By helping Shrek feel comfortable with who he is, and what skills his personality traits bring to the party, he opened Shrek’s mind up to a whole new definition of happiness. He went from seeing a life of solitude as being his self-imposed limit, to marrying Fiona, having a family, having friends, and seeing what his true potential was.

This is what real leadership is. It’s helping people see beyond the self-imposed limits of what they believe is possible. It’s helping people recognise their value, what they bring to the party, and enabling them to grow and develop both personally and professionally.

One Degree Training & Coaching Ltd are leadership development specialists for SMEs. We will provide leadership training, leadership development, and leadership support for business owners, senior managers, managers, and emerging leaders. Use the details below to contact us to see how we can help your managers become great leaders.

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