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Leadership lessons from Santa

Leadership lessons from Santa

By Mike Heffner

We often forget about what a tough job it is being Santa these days. Think about how our culture has evolved – the expectations of Santa are off the charts. However, he always finds a way to keep everyone happy and smiling. Let’s look at how he pulls that off and learn some takeaways for your business.

He runs a great workshop – Once a year, he creates an amazing experience by delivering millions of gifts across the world in one night. That makes Amazon look like a small operation. To pull this off, he must keep everyone focused on the mission at hand. His team knows what success looks like – every child waking up to something special. Throughout all the changes, decisions, and planning, having an established “why” serves as the workshop’s north star.

He selects and trains the best reindeer – Now granted, he does have his own reindeer farm, but it’s important to note that not just any reindeer will do. Having a good team is crucial to running a successful operation. And after being selected, training opportunities to grow and learn new skills is held equally as important.

He has a great plan every year – Can you imagine the logistical nightmare of pulling off what Santa does? He certainly does a good job of planning ahead and holding everyone accountable. It helps when your team knows what needs to be accomplished and everyone knows their role.

He keeps the elves motivated – My bet is they occasionally fuss about things like many employees do, but clearly Santa and his leadership team have surrounded themselves with elves that share similar values and beliefs. The elves rally behind the workshop’s “why” – creating special moments for every child – and Santa helps motivate each member by helping them understand how important their job is.

He knows who has been naughty and nice – Now this is a superpower of superpowers. We all wish we knew what Santa knows. He has a way of helping those that have not been nice realize they need to be. The magic is that everyone wants to do a good job for Santa. I bet he does a great job of setting good expectations up front and making sure he checks in on what’s going on to see who needs help.

He sets the example and celebrates with his team – We never see Santa out of character. He always has his game face on, and every good leader can learn something from Santa’s authenticity. We can also learn from his sincerity and his willingness to spread good cheer. He enjoys reminding his team what a great job they did and how they helped kids across the world have a wonderful Christmas.

I hope you had some fun with my spin on leadership. I wish that I could figure out a way to get all my clients to leave out cookies and milk whenever we stop by. But seriously, what has helped Santa be successful over all these years are very basic principles that if each of us used in our business, we would likely be wildly successful. Merry Christmas!

This article is written by Mike Heffner, the owner of the local Greenwood Express Employment Professionals franchise. Contact Mike at Mike.Heffner@expresspros.com, @IndySouthMike on Twitter or visit ExpressIndySouth.com.

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