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Michael Eisner (7/3/1942) was known as the chief executive and chairman of the board of Walt Disney during the period from 1984 to 2005 and used to be one of the richest men in United State of America. Before joining Walt Disney, Michael Eisner was the ABC’s Vice President for Program Planning and Development and Senior President for Prime Time Production and Development in 1975. Later, Michael Eisner has become the President and Chief Operating Officer of Paramount Pictures. Michael Eisner had great contribution in reviving the Walt Disney and transforming it from a company with $3 billion of enterprise value into the industry leader company valued at $60 billion. In his period of leading, the Walt Disney’s annual income has risen from $291 million to $4.08 billion, annual revenue reached$25.4 billion and the price of stock has increased 30 times. In 2005, after the feud between him and the former executive Jeffrey Katzenberg, he stepped down as the CEO position (Academy of Achievement, 2009).

Michael Eisner

Task-related behaviours

Adaptability to the situation

Mr. Michael Eisner, From an assistant of National Programming director of ABC to the CEO of Paramount picture, then the CEO of Walt Disney and currently host the talk show “conversation with Michael Eisner”, it can be seen that he has brought certain success for these organizations. For examples, he came to Paramount Picture for the CEO position and it took him 4 years to make 5 of the most attractive boxes at that time, the same with Disney, after took the leading position and found out the problem of Disney, he helped the organization to avoid making loss and increased profit in the following years.

Direct setting

In the very first years of being Disney’s CEO, Michael Eisner realized the future of this organization will be in the home entertainment section rather than in the movie theatres (Edward Jay Epstein, 2009). He started by planning out the “The Disney Decade” and communicated it with all of his partners. The plan was to operate a series of new Disney parks all over the world, expand the existing ones, and invest money on new media’s project as well as film studios with high technology (wikipedia.org, 2009). Finally, it brought the enterprise’s value of Disney from $2.8 billions in 1984 to $69 billions in 2004 (Edward Jay Epstein, 2009)

Risk-taking and bias for action

Michael Eisner (1998) said that the way that he and his people organize Disney was very simple indeed, they set the goals with high expectation for perfection, prepare for the failure, learn from the mistakes and hope that the success rates will be higher than failure rates. Moreover, Michael Eisner had a very strong opinion towards his idea even people criticize it. For example, ignored the disagreement from the studio executives of Disney about the release of the successful animated films in the past on videocassette, he still continued the plan. (Edward Jay Epstein, 2009)

Hands-on guidance and feedback

According to Fonda (2003), Michael Eisner never “misses the small points”; even it is only a little unsuitable word in a movie script or just the “fixture in his company’s hotels”. Furthermore, Michael Eisner controlled almost all of the Disney’s creative activities such as the development of story, the creation of characters and everything (Waltdisneyresource.net, 2009)

Relationship-related behaviours

Creating inspiration and visibility

According the interview about Common sense and conflict (2000), he explained one of his principles about leading is “being there”, which means a leader needs to stay closely with employees in order to understand what they need. He also gave an experience that the worst decisions that he made come from teleconferencing. Lastly, due to the large number of employees in Disney and they are working all over the world, he use email as the communication tool to show the visibility of the CEO in the organization.

The frequently existing of Michael Eisner’s task-related behaviors compared with his relationship-related behaviors shows that he is definitely a task-oriented leader, which focus more on the task’s performance than the “interpersonal aspect of the leadership” (Durbin et at, 2006)

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