Leadership advice from the big guy.
Last week we talked about the bad guys. This week, we are going to talk about the leadership secrets of the big guy himself, since it is after all the season to be jolly, Santa Claus. These leadership tips come from a neat little book I just read by Eric Harvey titled, The Leadership Secrets of Santa Claus: How to Get Big Things Out of your Workshop all year long.
Think about it, Santa Claus is, has to be, the best customer service guy in the world, since he has to service the entire world. And, talk about delivery problems! He has to deliver all of his products in just one night! Think about that, imagine if you had to only one night a year, to deliver all of your products, do you think you could handle it? And, he has to make all of his customers happy, all of them. If he screws up even one delivery, the whole world is watching and the whole world will know about it.
When he was writing this book, Eric Harvey asked Santa how he meets all of these challenges, and this is what the man in red told him, “…There is no magic to it. So, if it’s not magic, what is my secret? Actually, there are ten of them, ten practical strategies for leading others, and getting big things done all year long. They’re called the Leadership Secrets of Santa Claus, and I’m here to share them with you. They are my gifts to you. And I guarantee that if you apply them, you’ll find these “secrets” more valuable than anything you might have written on your holiday list.” Read on! Lead on!
Here then are Santa’s ten secrets on leadership:
- Build a wonderful workshop: Focus on the mission, everyone in the workshop must know what we are trying to do, what the goal is, and all stay focused on making that goal.
- Chose the reindeer wisely: As we often say, make sure you have the right reindeer, er people. The ones who believe in the mission, and have a passion for working accomplish that mission. There is no room for negative nabobs in the Christmas business. Everyone on the team, has to love what they are doing. As Santa says, “Hire tough so you can manage easy.”
- Make a list and check it twice: It’s all about the process. Everyone has to follow directions so that there are no screw ups, like two headed dolls or green geraniums. We insist that everyone follow the plans, the instructions, and the process, that way we are always on track for doing things right and making the toys correctly.
- Listen to the elves: Make sure you listen to you team’s ideas. Learn what they are thinking, what their job is like; and most importantly pay attention to how they perceive you. Will they follow you anywhere? You have to be the best person in the workshop to be a respected leader.
- Say Ho, Ho, Ho, but don’t forget the snow: Make sure you are the chief enthusiast, catch your team doing the right thing and reward them for it. Recognition is very important. Always praise for specific actions and always be flagrantly appreciative.
- Give them gifts that last a lifetime: Teach your team how to go beyond their jobs, so that they don’t only know how to do them, but also how to do them successfully. Solve problems immediately, and if sometimes the elves have squabbles, settle them productively. Always insist on professionalism from your team. And, always point out to them why they should be very proud of what they are doing, by showing them how important their work is
- Get beyond the red wagons: Have them accept the reality of change. People who cannot handle change, nay welcome change, will never succeed in business. In fact, in many instances they will hold the rest of the team back. Show your team how to embrace change, and how to be flexible enough to readily adapt to it.
- Share the milk and cookies: Share the rewards, pass them around so everyone feels the effects of the team’s success. Show them the positive results of their important work. Show them the possibility of what they can accomplish together. Make them feel great about what they are doing, and how they are doing it.
- Find out who’s naughty and nice: Confront performance problems quickly and effectively. Have those hard talks immediately, when they are needed, and make them productive, and instructional, as well. Make sure that all performance expectations are very clear and concise.
- Be good for goodness sake: Set the example. If you don’t, as a leader follow the rules how do you expect your team to? Always, treat everyone with dignity and respect. Always, tell the truth. Continually, give it your best shot, and consistently stand for what’s right.
Always remember, that to prosper, your organization must be able to achieve great things and as their leader, you are fully responsible for them believing, that they can indeed achieve those big things. It’s only common sense.