Want to be a great leader like Santa Claus? Believe it or not – there is a leadership story in goodold Santa Claus. More than a round, bearded man in a red suit who jumps through chimneys todeliver toys, this old legend keeps plenty of leadership secrets that fuel his ambitions, enduranceand success.
We all have challenges andSt. Nick is no exception. Think ofthe disappointment around theworld 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 howimportant his job is and what it takes to maintain success.
Secret # 1 : Build a wonderful workshop.Every year Santa has a clear purpose. What is your purpose? Focus on the answer to that questionas well as the individuals in your organization who can take you to the top. Bottom line: createyour visions and values and let those be your guide.
Secret # 2 : Likeability.Leaders need not be friends with those they lead but if they want to have greater influenceand impact, they must be friendly, personable and likeable. Santa sure seems like a goodrole model here. After all, who doesn’t like Santa?
Secret # 3 : Santa inspires.Good leaders bring out the best in people. They have an innate ability to engage people in theirvision and get them to follow the same path they are taking. They are consistent, and able toencourage people to achieve great things. Are your team members inspired by you?
Secret # 4 : Be innovative.When an obstacle appears, good leaders find a way to overcome them. That often meansbucking the past and taking the risk to try something totally new that’s never been triedbefore. Do you stretch the boundaries or play it safe?
Secret # 5 : Choose your reindeer wisely.While all the others on the team looked down on Rudolph, Santa looked for his unique strengths. He sawhow Rudolph could contribute in ways others could not, and how he could gain acceptance from fellowteam members. In your business, promote the right people for the right reasons. Diversify your team andsee the benefits of choosing different people for different strengths.
Secret # 6 : Make a list and check it twice.The presents must be made and ready to be loaded on the sleigh and delivered by December25 - every year without fail. In your climb to success, make the most of what you have, create abusiness plan and know the power of a deadline.
Secret # 7 : Consistency.You won’t get big surprises from Santa, he is consistent – every year, every ChristmasEve, every “Ho, Ho Ho”. To be more effective leaders we must be consistent aboutthose things that matter most.
Secret # 8 : 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 somethingmuch larger than himself. Without his little helpers and all the reindeer, he could not accomplish hismission. In your career, understand that behind every great leader is a team. Every team memberknows they can’t make it on their own.
Secret # 9 : Get beyond the red wagons.Santa understands that great leadership is about moving hearts and minds, not just about movingpresents around the world. This holiday season, as a leader, make an emotional connection withfamily, friends and co-workers instead of just giving them a present.
Secret # 10 : 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. Heremembers names. He cares. You matter to him! As leaders we must connect with those welead. It is important. It makes a difference.
Secret # 11 : Share the milk and cookies.Santa’s figured out his values. He knows what he stands for – laughter and joy. He then delivers thesame message, linked to those values, again and again every year. When thinking about yourwork ethic, know the power that consistent messages have to drive your business to success.
Secret # 12 : Find out who’s naughty and who’s nice.Not only does Santa realize the importance of rewarding for performance, he personally monitorsyour behavior throughout the whole year. As leaders, we know the importance of taking personalaccountability for quality, especially when it comes to people and performance. How do you dothis? A simple system is to coach those in need and to recognize the super star performers.
Secret # 13 : Has impact through presenceSanta Claus makes an appearance in the Holiday Parade. Santa Claus has tremendous impactwhen he makes an appearance. Leaders must be aware of the effect their presence has on theirteam. Be aware of the impact you have when you are in front of your team and deliberatelymaximize the positive effects you can create by your presence, Santa Claus does.
Secret # 14 : Project management skills.All of that stuff built, wrapped and delivered on time and (we presume) on budget? How closedid you come to that standard on your last small project, let alone a huge one like he has everyyear? Beyond these attributes, he is more effective when we believe. Do those you lead believein you? Have you given them something to believe in?
Secret # 15 : Every leader must sacrificeCan you imagine how tough it must be keeping track of all the children on Earth, building toys forthem, and delivering to millions of homes in one night? Santa Claus does it all, every year, withoutcomplaint. He sacrifices his time, resources and considerable energy in order to make little childrenhappy. Leaders must find the opportunity to create lasting impressions in the lives of their members.
Secret # 16 : Be the best mentorYes, Santa is larger-than-life, has a larger-than-needed belly, and is overly fond of red clothes.Sometimes, the best mentors are different from us – have you sought mentors that can provideyou such a fresh perspective? Yes, there really is a Santa Claus, and he could moonlight as aleadership coach – a coach who really knows what he is talking about!
Find out what one thing you can do for a member of your team that would completely change theirlife. It may be something simple like helping them define their strengths. The power of taking thetime to invest in your team will be a sacrifice well worth the effort. Apply each of these leadershiplessons from Santa Claus and learn how to get big things done in your workshop all year long.
Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results not attributes. - Peter Drucker Thank You Very Much Sompong Yusoontorn
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