When old St. Nick starts appearing in Christmas decorations and department store photoshoots, it probably makes you think about vacations instead of more work. But let’s take just a little time to look at Santa Claus through a business perspective. Turns out he has a few things he can teach us about the qualities of a leader!
1. He knows how to recognize and engage unique talents: On one foggy Christmas eve, Santa was the one to think outside the box and call upon Rudolph with his bright red nose to guide the sleigh. The other members of his organization had overlooked Rudolph’s unusual asset and excluded him from workplace camaraderie (i.e. reindeer games). Thanks to Santa’s open-mindedness, the operation gained a new resource, and a divide among his employees was solved—a win for the company culture.
2. He manages production to keep up with a strict timeline: In the centuries since Santa started his work, the world population has surged over the 7 billion mark. That means a lot of children to give presents to! But it’s not like there are more days in the year to make them, or hours in December 24 to deliver them. Have any other companies adjusted as seamlessly when their customer base ballooned?
3. He finds solutions to obstacles in operation: Father Christmas has his preferred method for reaching his customers. But not every child has a house with a chimney. How does he do it? It’s a mystery to us! But he’s obviously adjusted to the needs of his clientele so that his organization can continue to be successful.
4. He stays relevant in changing times: Even successful businesses can find themselves floundering if they don’t keep up with an evolving market. But however different modern-day gifts are from the original traditions (Santa has to deliver things like digital music now), the brand is still well-loved and flourishing.
5. He creates joy for his workers, which creates joy for the customers: The elves in Santa’s workshop must enjoy working for him, despite the high levels of holiday production, to come back year after year. And that’s important, since the organization’s goal is to bring happiness to children around the world. Having engaged employees is the key to fulfilling your company’s mission.
It’s obvious that Santa’s job is far more than making a list and checking it twice. It takes impressive leadership qualities to keep his organization successful Christmas after Christmas. There’s a lot to learn from this merry manager.