Thursday's Thoughts: 'Choose Your Reindeer Wisely' and Other Great Leadership Lessons from St. Nick

Believe it or not – there is a leadership story in good old Santa Claus. More than a round, bearded man in a red suit who jumps through chimneys to deliver toys, this old legend keeps plenty of leadership secrets that fuel his ambitions, endurance and success. We all have challenges and St. Nick is no exception. Think of the disappointment around the world should he give in to these challenges and call it a day rather than persevere in order to keep the holiday spirit alive. This leader understands how important his job is and what it takes to maintain success.

Want to be a great leader like Santa Claus? The following are concepts that will inspire you to build and lead a better organization from a book called "The Leadership Secrets of Santa Claus":

  • Build a wonderful workshop. Every year Santa has a clear purpose. What is your purpose? Focus on the answer to that question as well as the individuals in your organization who can take you to the top. Bottom line: create your visions and values and let those be your guide.
  • Choose your reindeer wisely. While all the others on the team looked down on Rudolph, Santa looked for his unique strengths. He saw how Rudolph could contribute in ways others could not, and how he could gain acceptance from fellow team members. In your business, promote the right people for the right reasons. Diversify your team and see the benefits of choosing different people for different strengths.
  • Make a list and check it twice. The presents must be made and ready to be loaded on the sleigh and delivered by December 25 – every year without fail. In your climb to success, make the most of what you have, create a business plan and know the power of a deadline.
  • Listen to the elves. There is no way Santa could get it all done by himself. He knows he’s just the front man for something much larger than himself. Without his little helpers and all the reindeer, he could not accomplish his mission. In your career, understand that behind every great leader is a team. Every team member knows they can’t make it on their own.
  • Get beyond the red wagons. Santa understands that great leadership is about moving hearts and minds, not just about moving presents around the world. This holiday season, as a leader, make an emotional connection with family, friends and co-workers instead of just giving them a present.
  • Share the milk and cookies. Santa’s figured out his values. He knows what he stands for - laughter and joy. He then delivers the same message, linked to those values, again and again every year. When thinking about your work ethic, know the power that consistent messages have to drive your business to success. Continue to help your team see the difference they make and everyone will perform at a higher level.
  • Find out who’s naughty and who's nice. Not only does Santa realize the importance of rewarding for performance, he personally monitors your behavior throughout the whole year. As leaders, we know the importance of taking personal accountability for quality, especially when it comes to people and performance. How do you do this? A simple system is to coach those in need and to recognize the super star performers.
  • Be good for goodness sake. Santa makes a connection with people and is consistent about those things that matter the most. To become an exceptional leader, set the example and remember that everyone counts. Focus on developing the leaders around you and giving them their own platforms for greatness.

Apply each of these leadership lessons from Santa Claus and learn how to get big things done in your workshop all year long.

Happy Holidays!