The old guy, wearing the red suit and sporting an impressive beard has some profound tips on leadership according to Keith Coats the leadership guru quoted here:
Leadership lessons from Santa Claus for leaders everywhere:
The little people matter a great deal. Every organization has an army of ‘little’ people – those without impressive titles, offices or reserved parking. These are the true heroes of any successful enterprise and leaders should not forget them.
Santa delivers. Savvy leaders realize that the ultimate test of leadership is to deliver on the stated objectives and goals. Leaders are judged by this.
There will always be imitations masquerading as the real deal. Leadership is a much abused term and title. Smart organizations would do well to use it more sparingly and guard with greater care the use of the word. Leadership sells…as does Santa and both have been open to abuse and a kind of commercialism that does neither any favours.
Santa gets his timing right. The right message, given to the right people at the right place can go horribly wrong if it is done at the wrong time. There is a right time to encourage, give feedback, correct, challenge, delegate, inspire, keep quiet, pay attention to the small stuff and the big stuff…and competent leaders understand the importance of timing.
Appearance matters. Leaders understand the importance of consistency. They understand that appearance matters as others are constantly looking at them and examining both their character and their actions. The word ‘integrity’ comes from the Latin, ‘integratis’ which is ‘to integrate’. Savvy leaders understand that they lead from who they are and that leadership integrity stems from an integrated life.
Santa understands the power of surprise and magic – Great leaders understand that these two elements are essential parts of their leadership armoury and as such need to be deployed to good effect. Savvy leaders understand that they are magic-makers and they don’t shrink from this expectation and responsibility.
Santa sees the individual. Santa’s gifts are personalized. There is never the ‘one-size-fits-all’ type of approach. Smart leaders have come to recognize that leadership is personalized. They see the individual and an encounter with each person leaves that person feeling as though they have been seen, recognized and respected.
Santa thinks global but acts local. In a world that is inextricably connected and one in which change, influence and impact is expected, smart leaders pay attention to the ‘big picture’. They think global but understand the importance of local action, presence and focus.
There will always be a Grinch. Santa has always had to deal with the sceptics, the non-believers and those simply opposed to the whole thing – the Grinch who would like to ‘steal Christmas’. Their opposition and how they engage with that opposition often defines leaders. Great leaders know to expect the Grinch and the ensuing trouble that will result.
Do you agree with this unlikely teacher?