Why Santa Is Actually a Terrible Leader

3 min read
Dec 23, 2016

The truth about Santa

For years, we’ve heard countless stories about the virtues of jolly old St. Nick. Many have argued that Santa Claus is one of the best leaders to ever step foot on the earth. He lays out very clear goals for his workers. He knows that a very special reindeer needs to lead the sleigh in order to navigate the dark night. He lets everyone know what’s expected of them (be naughty and you’ll regret it!). He sticks to the plan, year in and year out. You get the gist.

But is Santa really as great a leader as he’s made out to be? We don’t think so. We’re here to tell you that Kris Kringle is actually a terrible leader. Here’s why.


01. His grading system leaves a lot to be desired

Santa gives presents to those who are nice while withholding them from those who are naughty (to be fair, naughty folks might get a lump of coal).

That’s great and all, but how are kids supposed to know whether they’re being naughty or nice when they don’t get any feedback or reviews over the course of the year? What happens if a kid is nice for 360 days of the year but is naughty for the other 5? Isn’t “nice” and “naughty” behavior subjective too?

When you stop to think about it, Santa’s rubric is really unfair. It’s impossible for a kid to know whether they’ve made the cut until Christmas arrives. Not only do great leaders have more clearly defined metrics, they also give prompt feedback. If a kid is being naughty in January, they could certainly improve their behavior over the remainder of the year. If only Santa would tell them . . .


02. He’s not a great communicator

Santa ClausSOURCE: giphy.com

On that note, it turns out Santa is a terrible communicator in general. “Ho, ho, ho — Merry Christmas.” Give me a break. Hey Santa, how are your reindeer able to fly? “Magic.” What an explanation.


03. He doesn’t lead by example

Most of Santa’s elves work year-round building toys with their bare hands. Judging from Santa’s portly stature, it doesn’t appear as though he’s on his feet running around a factory all year long.

Great leaders delegate tasks, but they also lead by example. It makes you wonder how often the elves go to HR to complain about their boss being mean. Oh wait, Santa doesn’t have an HR department, either. What a jerk.


04. He probably doesn’t pay his staff

Santa's elvesSOURCE: giphy.com

Aside from room and board, do Santa’s elves get paid? You’d think that at least one of them would have tapped into their entrepreneurial spirit and started their own toy factory by now if they had some cash.


05. There aren’t any opportunities for professional development at the North Pole

Santa’s had a monopoly on the Christmas business for what seems like eons. He’s the head honcho. Rudolph is the head reindeer. Sure, he’s promoted some elves to key positions, like Alabaster Snowball, who keeps Santa informed of who’s naughty or nice.

But no one climbs the ladder at the North Pole. Everyone is stuck in their roles. It’s not good for employee morale, but Santa doesn’t seem to care.


06. He takes all the credit for everything

Be honest: Have you ever heard of Alabaster Snowball before? We know Santa. We know Mrs. Claus. We know Rudolph, Comet, Blitzen, Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Donner, and Cupid. But we don’t know much about the elves.

It seems as though Santa is perfectly OK with taking all the credit for Christmas presents every year. And on top of that, he gets to munch on cookies and wash them down with milk at every house he visits. Wouldn’t a great leader bring at least some of the cookies back to his staff?



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