Leadership Lessons from Santa Claus

Dec 19, 2018 | Culture, Leadership, Strategy

For centuries, Santa Claus has been the leader of one of the largest not-for-profit operations in the world. Despite the constant societal, economic and technological changes that he has experienced since the 4th Century, he has managed to evolve, keep his customers happy and ultimately ensure that one of the most anticipated nights of the year, is a success.

When thinking of aspirational business leaders, I’m sure Santa Claus doesn’t typically come to mind. However, for the sake of the holidays, let’s take a deep dive into why Santa Claus may be one of the most underrated leaders of all time and the lessons we can learn from him.

  1. Only uses his power for good

Santa Claus holds the power to impact many people, particularly children, on Christmas year after year. At MacPhie, we believe that every organization must have a purpose that speaks to the reason that it exists and how it is changing the world. Santa Claus understands his purpose and delivers on it, by using his power to put a smile on children’s faces every year by giving them their favorite gift.  

  1. Sets goals and delegates

Every year, Santa Claus’ goal is to deliver great gifts, to the right children, in a timely manner. To achieve this goal, he cannot do it alone. Santa Claus delegates tasks to his team of elves who all specialize in a certain area of gift manufacturing and gift wrapping. He also selects a team of elves to accompany him to shopping malls around the world to greet children and put a smile on their faces. Overall, Santa Claus figured out which elves are qualified to do what, provided them with an objective, and ensures that they are delivering on performance and meeting their deadlines.

  1. Helps identify his team members’ strengths

Santa Claus not only has help from his elves, but also from his famous reindeers. As I’m sure many of you know, Rudolph is a bit of an outcast because of his shiny red nose. While his fellow reindeers viewed Rudolph’s quirk as a weakness, Santa Claus saw it as a strength. He seized the opportunity to help bring out the best in Rudolph and build upon his capabilities, making him central to the success of foggy Christmas Eve.  

  1. Understands and listens to his audience

With any business, you have to understand who your primary target audience is, their characteristics and their motivations. Santa Claus excels in this department as he receives a wish list from each child every year, reads it and listens to what the child wants and needs. By gaining this deep understanding into his audience, Santa Claus does not disappoint.

  1. Pays attention to trends

With the constant advancement and innovations within our society, trends are always changing. As leaders, it is important to ensure that your business is always adapting and keeping up with the market. Santa Claus is always paying close to attention to what’s new and shiny in today’s market, as he can’t ever give a child the same gift twice or a gift that is “so last year”.

Santa Claus succeeds by setting clear goals, collaborating with others and paying attention to his audience and the world around him. So, next time you encounter a business or personal challenge at work, ask yourself: “what would Santa Claus do?” Happy Holidays!

By: Talia Shapiro

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