Year after year, I’ve watched the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer television special and cringed at Santa’s leadership and the atrocious leadership displayed by nearly every adult character.
- Donner rejects his son.
- Santa ignores Rudolph’s obvious leaping skills because of his nose.
- The workshop foreman ridicules Harvey (the elf who wants to be a dentist).
The workplace culture at the north pole stinks! It’s a great example of what we call “trickle down intimidation.” The leaders take their cues from how things are done at the top. Santa’s leadership leads to dysfunction at every level.
Fortunately, Santa must have found an early copy of the Winning Well Confidence-Competence model in his stocking. By the end of the show, he sees and encourages Rudolph’s true strength, competence, and talent. Christmas is saved.
Do you build on your team’s talents, strengths, and competence or do you waste time, energy, and capacity focused on irrelevant “weaknesses”? Let Santa be your guide.
SANTA THE INEPT LEADER
Santa, the inept leader
Had a special flying deer,
But if you can believe it
Santa wouldn’t let him near.
All of the black-nosed reindeer
They did all of Santa’s work
He never valued Rudolph
In fact he was quite a jerk.
Then one foggy Christmas eve,
Santa came to see.
Strengths are what you really need,
Weakness is a waste to heed.
Then how the Reindeer loved him
As they flew around and beamed.
Santa, the strength-based leader
Built a real productive team…
How do you avoid Santa’s leadership problem and stay focused on the strengths and talents your people bring to work, rather than obsessing about the characteristics they don’t have (that also don’t matter)?