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Finding Nemo

A look at Transformational Leadership in Finding Nemo

Nikkie Krasselt

on 5 December 2012

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Transcript of Finding Nemo

Transformative leadership
in Finding Nemo Nicole Krasselt Just Keep Swimming
Toward Leadership Dory thrives amidst chaos. She is calm and collected and is an extremely positive thinker. Dory's short term memory loss allows her to forget the little things and focus on a long term goal, finding Nemo. She calms Marlin down by telling him to "just keep swimming" when he is too scared to move forward and by reassuring him that she can be trusted. Without Dory's calm demeanor, Marlin would not have been able to make it to Sydney. Dory always trusts her inner voice, because she lives in the moment and barely remembers her own name. On the other hand, Marlin starts out questioning every move he and those around him make. He is timid and does not trust anything. Through his journey from the reef to Sydney, Australia, Marlin gains his voice back and starts to trust himself and others once again. Dory is comfortable with ambiguity from the very beginning of the story. Her short term memory loss helps because she lives in the moment. Marlin learns to be comfortable with ambiguity, but only after he recovers Nemo. In the beginning Marlin is closed off and stays in his anemone. When Nemo wants to go to school, Marlin feels uncomfortable and would rather have him and Nemo stay at home for another year or two. He shows a little comfort with Nemo leaving with his class until the other parents tell him where Nemo is heading. This uncertainty with the location makes Marlin chase after Nemo and the incident with the boat and divers happen. If Marlin had not chased after Nemo, his journey would not have ensued. When Marlin bumped into Dory, they created a common purpose. He was looking for a boat and she knew where it was. Dory complicated this common purpose as she forgot she was helping Marlin until she confronted him about following her (Bennis, 2003). Dory stays with Marlin because she feels a connection with him. She also realizes that she remembers more when he is around and feels that it is also her purpose to find Nemo. As Marlin leaves her in the end, she no longer knows what to do with herself. Nemo passes by and even though she does not remember him, she follows him on his journey to find his dad and they too are working toward a common purpose. Creating a common purpose
in Finding Nemo Being comfortable with ambiguity
in Finding Nemo Trusting your inner voice
in Finding Nemo Thriving amidst chaos
in Finding Nemo Dory, even while struggling with short-term memory loss, is a great example of transformational leadership in the film Finding Nemo. She consistently maintains a positive attitude and acts as a calming agent for Marlin when he becomes frantic (Bennis, 2003). Dory instills a positive attitude into Marlin and contributes to his personal growth by telling him to "just keep swimming". Throughout the movie she teaches Marlin to trust her and to follow his instincts. Dory easily adapts to situations with creative thinking and problem solving which eventually allows Marlin to be reuinted with his son Nemo (Lievens, 1997). Dory as a transformative leader
in Finding Nemo Gill, whom Nemo met in the fishtank at the dentist's office, can also be seen as a transformative leader. Scared and out of his element, Nemo bumps into his new tankmates and runs into trouble as he is about to be moved again. When Nemo is sucked into the vaccuum tube he believes he can only become unstuck by the help of others. Gill guided Nemo out by explaining clearly what he had to do and by establishing a connection with him (Quinn, 2005a). He teaches Nemo independence and how to survive on his own. Nemo looks up to Gill because Gill too has a little fin. Gill as a transformative leader
in Finding Nemo Marlin learns to let others take control of the situations he is in. He also learns to trust others and let Nemo experience things on his own. Marlin learned through his experiences with various creatures after losing his son and by seeing how he treats others. While Dory is an important influence in Marlin's leadership development, he could only have learned through his own experiences. When Marlin and Dory reach the Sydney harbor, they meet a pelican named Nigel who helps bring them to Nemo. Upon arriving at the dentist's office, Marlin finds his son floating belly up in a plastic bag. He loses hope again and wants to grieve on his own which leads to Marlin leaving Dory alone. Dory can no longer remember anything and swims aimlessly until Nemo gives her a purpose. As Dory helps reunite father and son, Marlin finally gives Nemo the freedom to prove he is capable of being independent. Marlin and Dory leave the East Australian Current to continue on their journey and find themselves seeking help from a whale. Marlin stubbornly believes that Dory can not communicate with the whale even though she is fully capable. She does not quit even with Marlin's negative attitude. As Marlin realizes he has been treating Dory the same way as he treated Nemo, he lets go both mentally of his trust issues and physically as he drops into the whales throat as he learns to trust Dory (Beddoes-Jones, 2012). When Marlin and Dory wake up, they are surrounded by sea turtles on the East Australian Current. They meet Crush, who teaches Marlin that their kids are capable to do things on their own. Crush's wisdom sinks deep into Marlin as he watches Squirt, Crush's offspring, successfully reenter the current on his own. As Marlin tells the story of his journey to the young turtles, he realizes he could have avoided losing his son if he had only trusted him in the first place. Marlin realizes that he cannot finish the journey on his own as he needs Dory's skills to balance out his flaws. However, his trust issues continue as he manipulates Dory into doing what he believes is best instead of listening to her as she wanted to pass through the gorge. His selfish manipulation leads to Dory becoming injured and both passing out from jellyfish stings. Marlin and Dory survived their encounter with the sharks and Marlin was taught another valuable lesson as Dory told him to "just keep swimming" as she pulled him into the deep dark abyss to find a pair of goggles. While Dory was the only one that could read, Marlin had to be brave and dodge the angler fish so Dory could get enough light. Marlin then trapped the fish with the goggles and they both happily swam away. As Marlin encountered each obstacle, he grew and developed into a stronger and more confident leader. Marlin met three sharks and instantly he tried to run away, however, Dory kept him there as she had no reason not to trust the sharks (Beddoes-Jones, 2012). Even though Bruce, the leader of the three sharks, wanted to eat Marlin and Dory he understood that Bruce didn't mean to and that Bruce was just hungry. Marlin and Dory led each other to safety which only could be done by collaboration because Marlin needs Dory's innovation and confidence as she needs his commitment and drive to succeed (Lievens, 1997). Marlin became even more neurotic and frantic as he searched for Nemo. As he met Dory and proceeded to ask for her help, he quickly created a distrust that was hard to rid himself of (Quinn, 2005b). While Marlin didn't trust Dory, she was the only one that could help him and he leaned on her because without her, he would have been too scared to go on. Dory's short-term memory loss was a problem for Marlin and he was often frustrated that she was so carefree. He only gained respect and trust for her every time he betrayed her and it backfired. Since Nemo hatched, Marlin stayed inside because he was afraid that something bad would happen. Marlin kept Nemo safe but did not allow him to experience anything on his own. School was a way for an eager Nemo to see the world around him, however Marlin could not trust Nemo or his instructor. When Nemo defied his dad by going out into open water and touching a boat, Marlin's worst fears came to life as Nemo was taken away by a diver. Without this defiance Nemo would surely have been tucked safely inside the anemone for another year or two. The main character of the story, Marlin, could be characterized as a twice-born leader (Bennis, 2003). He was a take-charge person when he and his wife moved into their anemone while awaiting the hatching of their offspring. One day a predator appeared and attacked his family. Marlin lost all but one injured egg and he vowed to never let anything happen to it. His only son, Nemo would have a tiny fin.
Marlin's second leadership opportunity can only surface when he regains his confidence and trust in himself and others (Quinn, 2005b). His journey through the ocean to recover Nemo does just that. Beddoes-Jones, F. (2012). Authentic leadership: The key to building trust.
People Management, 44.

Bennis, W. (2003). On becoming a leader. NY: Basic Books.

Lievens, Filip; Van Geit, Pascal; & Coetsier, Pol. (1997) Identification of
Transformational Leadership Qualities: An Examination of Potential
Biases.  University of Ghent, Belgium.

Quinn, R. E. (2005a). Entering the fundamental state of leadership: A
framework for the positive transformation of self and others. Regents of
the University of Michigan

Quinn, R. E. (2005b). Moments of greatness: Entering the fundamental state
of leadership. Boston, Massachusetts, US: Harvard Business Review. References Becoming a twice-born leader
in Finding Nemo In the 2001 film Finding Nemo, Marlin, the little clown fish from the reef, goes on the journey of a lifetime trying to find his son Nemo. Through challenging experiences and new friendships Marlin learns not to allow his life to be ruled by fear and that he too, can lead. Just Keep Swimming Toward Leadership Transformational Leadership/LS335
Dr. Mary Weber
12/4/2012 Fear and defiance
in Finding Nemo Attitudes and respect
in Finding Nemo Gaining confidence
in Finding Nemo Commitment and cooperation
in Finding Nemo Balance and manipulation
in Findng Nemo Wisdom and success
in Finding Nemo Communication and trust
in Finding Nemo Grief and purpose
in Finding Nemo Learning through experience
in Finding Nemo Marlin, Dory and Gill all displayed transformative leadership. While Marlin had to experience a long and grueling journey to become a leader, Dory and Gill already possess the skills. Being comfortable with ambuguity, trusting ones inner voice, thriving on chaos and creating a common purpose can all be seen in the movie, Finding Nemo.
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