It is Christmas morning, and my family is still in bed. Before we get into an amazingly wonderful day, I wanted to write a post that has been swirling in my head for a couple days (visions of a blog post rather than sugar plums? I’m not sure what that says about me, but here we go . . .)
Remembering that there are leadership lessons everywhere, and being in the Christmas spirit I’ve been thinking about Santa as more than jolly St. Nick, but as a leadership mentor. Here are the lessons I have found so far.
Santa has. . .
- A clear purpose. His purpose is to bring toys to “all good little girls and boys.” What is your purpose? Is it clear not only to you but to those you lead? Can both you and they state it clearly?
- Likeability. Leaders need not be friends with those they lead but if they want to have greater influence and impact, they must be friendly, personable and likeable. Santa sure seems like a good role model here. After all, who doesn’t like Santa?
- A creative mind. He uses reindeer and a sleigh to deliver toys everywhere. Enough said.
- Consistency. You won’t get big surprises from Santa, he is consistent – every year, every Christmas Eve, every “Ho, Ho Ho”. To be more effective leaders we must be consistent about those things that matter most.
- A willingness to connect personally. Ok, so you haven’t met Santa (at least I haven’t) but you can tell he connects with people. He remembers names. He cares. You matter to him! As leaders we must connect with those we lead. It is important. It makes a difference.
- Project management skills. All of that stuff built, wrapped and delivered on time and (we presume) on budget? How close did you come to that standard on your last small project, let alone a huge one like he has every year?
Beyond these attributes, he is more effective when we believe. Do those you lead believe in you? Have you given them something to believe in?
Yes, Santa is larger-than-life, has a larger-than-needed belly, and is overly fond of red clothes. In other words he isn’t exactly like we are. Sometimes, the best mentors are different from us – have you sought mentors that can provide you such a fresh perspective?
Yes, Virginia, there really is a Santa Claus, and he could moonlight as a leadership coach – a coach who really knows what he is talking about!