Steve Zissou: team member and an autocrat

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By Adriana Barajas with Joseph Mayombo, Alla Nadezhkina, Marta Cerava


The life Aquatic with Steve Zissou is a movie about an oceanographer that can be 5402609388_d534d4e82a_mnarcissist at times. He is a media figure who is desperately seeking an expedition in search of a shark that supposedly killed one of Zissou partners while they were filming a documentary of their latest adventure. The movie portrays Zissou as an older and tired man who has lost inspiration because of his many failures in life. A man who uses his last chance and the death of a friend to go to his last campaign in search of himself. Steve Zissou new found son performed an unusual role.

First of all he was charming and a pleasant actor, however, he played a young man of undetermined significance. On the one hand, his newly found son makes Steve Zissou life better, on the other hand, it is a fresh breath of wind, the event, which was lacking in the old sailor’s life, a kind of stimulus to live. In addition, Zissou’s wife is cold and emotionless millionaire who relates to everything with indifference, but she admits Zissou has some leadership characteristics that perhaps many of those characteristics charmed her forever. Cate Blanchett plays an extraordinary role as a pregnant journalist who likes to write, but apparently Blanchett never wrote a great article about Steve Zissou. It awakens some barely alive feelings of the old man Zissou. Like all heroes, her motives are unclear, it is strange behavior, vague goals, but it is one of the major film people, and she admits Steve Zissou as the main leader. In this film, people seem a little crazy. They viewed Zissou as their leader who influences all the other characters to believe that there is a tiger shark.

Surprisingly, at the end of the movie many claim they saw a tiger shark. Steve Zissou is a symbol, and a strange character in the movie. At first, he is the old man, whose life was all, and who understands that the return to the former glory and in general, all that is called life, it is no longer under force. His films are no longer needed, he had no money, he lost his wife, he has no children, does not like the public, he does not know how to talk to people, he is sarcastic, cynical, he was tired, and it seems no longer wants nothing. The death of a friend and the emergence of son give him a reason to at least make an attempt to collect those pieces of life that remained in his mind, brain and body and return the world and himself that same Steve Zissou. Despite the obstacles that Zissou faces he is a goal getter and he finds ways to make the impossible possible making him a leader among all the other characters in the movie.

Ratings: R (Foul language, obscene, violence)

Genre: Drama/Action/Comedy

Leadership Roles within the movie:

Steve Zissou – Authoritative & Coercive leadership style

People who surround with Steve Zissou are very different, but despite the differences Zissou manages to lead as he is well connected with other characters in the movie. In fact, many of the characters in the movie are at a crossroads. The protagonist is self- critical and self-mocking. He falls in the authoritative leadership style because he leads his team with a plan and a vision. At the same time Zissou also falls under the coercive leadership because he can be demanding at times. He is more of the type of leader who uses phrases such as “do what I tell you.” This leadership style is useful at a time of crisis when a group needs immediate guidance.

Characteristics of Steve Zissou as a leader: He is ambitious, revenging, honest, and motivational. In addition, he is very confident, very assured of everything that he is. Someone who knows when to ask for forgiveness but at the same time when to admit they are wrong. For example when Zissou says, “You know that I cannot apologize, but in any case, I’m sorry.” That expression demonstrates he knows when he needs to apologize and when not to.

Leadership Styles:

What is a leader?

A Leader is known as the frontrunner of a group, an individual who is committed, with a vision in mind, and someone who has the skills that will motivate, influence, and direct others with the purpose to solve, create, achieve and get results. “Leadership is a social influence process in which the leader seeks the voluntary participation of subordinates in an effort to reach organization goals, a process whereby one person exerts social influence over other members of the group” (Bhatti, 2012, pg. 192). The term leadership is very broad and there are many characteristics one must have to be considered a leader.

Authoritative Leader: The autocratic leader usually figures out a solution without consulting the group. In addition, the autocratic leader would make the decisions for the group.

Coercive Leader: The coercive leader is best describes as demanding. The phrases most commonly used by a coercive leader is “do what I tell you, or else.” This leader usually gets things done by bullying and belittling their group members. In addition, members usually don’t get rewarded for their hard work.

Democratic Leader: According to Bhatti (2012) the democratic leadership style is best describes as a leader who makes the final decision. Still, the democratic leadership style is the highest on job satisfaction because the leader promotes group participation by allowing team members and employees to take part on decision-making (Bhatti, 2012).

In addition, the democratic style of leadership brings a feeling of control for both the team members and the leader, which motivates group members to be more effective in the job (Bhatti, 2012). According to Bhatti (2012) “Workers under democratic style of leadership will show improvement in quality of their work compared to workers under the autocratic style of leadership” (Bhatti, 2012).

Personal Thoughts:

By: Alla Nadezhkina

Watching this movie I discover something special for me. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou all look not real – little red hats, bright fish and simulated the characters. The director is not interested in the sea or fish, or oceanography, just people and their characters, the relationships between them. The main thing in this movie there are brilliant dialogues and a number of brilliantly discharged eccentric characters, each of which the world is seen funny painted in different colors.

By: Adriana Barajas

For me this movie, was not exactly what I expected. I think it was interesting but not exactly the type of movie, I would choose to watch on my spare time. Regarding leadership, I think the movie did really well portraying who was the leader and who wasn’t. Right away I cached on the fact that Steve Zissou was the leader among all the characters. I also noticed that Zissou was not very good a leading. I think if he would use a different leadership style he would have been more effective as a leader.


Nadeem Bhatti, N. B. (2012). The impact of autocratic and democratic leadership style on job satisfaction. International Business Research, 5(2), Retrieved from