11 Things That Santa and Great Leaders Have In Common

Posted: 07/12/2016

By Brett Lyons

There are a surprising amount of things that Santa and good leaders have in common. Well, you’d have to be a pretty visionary, ambitious leader to fly around the world on a magic sleigh, delivering presents to every single child in the world whilst keeping eight reindeer under control.

Christmas magic aside, Santa’s example reminds leaders of some essential qualities (seeing people when they’re sleeping and knowing when they’re awake is definitely not one of them though, that’s just creepy).

  1. Positive attitude: the best leaders have a positive, can-do attitude. This is what gets them and their teams through challenges. Just like Santa is a jolly old fellow, the best leaders tend to always be ready to look on the bright side and keep their teams motivated.
     
  2. Makes a list and checks it twice: planning must never be underestimated in leadership. You must have a vision and a plan meticulously in order to succeed and to get staff buy-in.
     
  3. Recognises the strengths in the team: just like Rudolph’s right at the front because he’s got a glowing nose, the best leaders recognise and reward strengths and good performance. After all, it’s the leader’s job to bring out the best in their people.
     
  4. Knows who is naughty and nice: Leaders are good at evaluating performance across the team: spotting who is exceeding expectations, and who is underperforming and may need more training. Assessing development needs and ensuring that everyone is supported is a core skill.
     
  5. Knows what customers want: Father Christmas is listening all year long, and even asks for wish lists. He takes the time to give his attention to others, to make sure he can meet their needs and support them. This is how the best leaders deal with both clients and their teams.
     
  6. Knows leaders can’t do it alone: a leader is nothing without their team, and Father Christmas needs his elves and reindeer like good leaders need their people. However, it’s not the team’s role to serve the leader. Rather the leader’s role to support the delivery process, just like Santa!
     
  7. Builds a brand: everyone knows Santa and he’s been popular for years. His brand is consistent and reliable, and people know exactly what to expect. Developing and defining a brand, and then sticking to it, is a key responsibility of business leaders.
     
  8. Keeps up with trends: Santa knows what’s in and what’s in fashion. He knows what people want, and makes sure he gives it to them. The best leaders do the same: they always have an ear to the ground and are constantly checking on competitors in order to stay competitive and advance performance.
     
  9. Is believable: Santa has a phenomenal amount of believability and credibility - he has to! And good leaders must have the same qualities in order to be trusted by their teams; however, there’s no fairy-tale magic involved in being believable. Quite the opposite: leaders need to be authentic, genuine and honest in order to be believed and respected.
     
  10. Keeps to deadlines: this should go without saying. Just like Father Christmas can’t be late, neither can leaders. This doesn’t just mean being late into the office, but respecting people’s time in general: always meeting deadlines and responding to people on time shows that you respect people’s time, which earns you respect in return.
     
  11. Knows the importance of training: Santa does the same thing every single year, but with the knowledge that continuous improvement is important. Leaders should not be afraid of skills refreshers and top-up training: this is the only way to stay on top of your game.

 

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Here is our checklist compiled from different studies on best management practice.

 

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Brett Lyons

Brett Lyons is an international leadership consultant who has converted 35 years of sales experience into a range of eLearning tools that deliver real-world results. He is a training expert who specialises in coaching motivated leaders to drive their teams to success.