Who Was the Real Leader in Oz?

Discussion Point

Who is the true leader in The Wizard of Oz?

1. The Wizard

2. The Good Witch of the East

3. Dorothy

4. Samuel Goldwyn (the producer)

Very interesting question! Although the question alludes to there is only one leader, it would be very easy to make a case that each of the choices it was a true leader.

The Wizard was a leader by virtue of avoiding almost all contact with his people, except through the false façade he created. One could argue his image began when he had first entered Oz. Recognizing the respect or admiration that people had for him he knew he had to avoid destroying it. Without confidence in his ability he was left with no other alternative than to avoid contact. The Wizard was the type of leader that exudes confidence in spite of insecurities.

The Good Witch of the East was a leader in that she knew the only way Dorothy would realize the valuable lessons found along the Yellow Brick Road was through experiential learning. True leaders understand that it is better for individual to figure something out for themselves. Even the young child who is told that the stove's burner is hot does not believe it until it had the opportunity to check it out. The Good Witch of the East had a vision of how the story would end yet realized Dorothy would not share her vision until some learning occurred. The Good Witch of the East provided leadership by bringing others to a hidden reality.

Dorothy became a leader by default. I don't think she wanted to be a leader, but her compassion and empathy did not allow her to permit perceived character flaws prevent the Cowardly Lion, Scarecrow, or Tin Woodsmen from achieving greater potential. She was a visionary leader because she was able to connect each of the self-proclaimed misfits with the goal. Dorothy did not seek a leadership role but was forced to be a leader through her character and the situation in which she found herself.

Samuel Goldwyn led the project to capture the story on film. As with any director he was challenged to connect his actors with the thoughts and feelings of the characters. He also made it to make sure that the cameras captured the angles and the editors spliced together the scenes in such a way as to captivate the audience and carry them along the emotional journey. Leadership was required to motivate the hundreds of people involved in the making of the film. One cannot deny his leadership ability.

Samuel Goldwyn was a leader by bringing together a very diverse cast and causing us all to empathize with the various characters.

Which kind of leader are you?

1. A Wizard

2. A Good Witch

3. A Dorothy

4. A Samuel Goldwin

Believing in oneself is an important aspect of true leadership However there is a caveat that reveals itself through The Wizard. The Good Witch of the East and Samuel Goldwyn were confident in a positive outcome. Dorothy was less confident but seemed to believe in what she had been told by the Witch and therefore everything would work out for success -- even though nothing in the story gives specific reason for a positive expectancy.

The Wizard had no apparent belief in his ability but still was able to be a leader in the eyes of this of the citizens of Oz. He demonstrated a key element of true leadership. He recognized his weakness and developed a way to overcome it. Leaders today do not need to have such elaborate schemes to hide their weaknesses and insecurity. For the most part they are able to delegate duties and responsibilities for those areas where they recognize others possess much more talent. There is probably a touch of The Wizard in every leader. As you will recall, Chuck Conaway, the CEO of Kmart when it went into bankruptcy, spent much of his time traveling the country visiting stores and little of his time in the executive office. It is possible that the Kmart corporate jet served the same purpose as the Wizard’s animated giant face behind the flames and booming voice amplified by the speakers. Perhaps the storefronts across the nation served as the curtain from behind which The Wizard felt confident.