By Dr. Larry Ferguson
Tis the season to be a leader, just ask anyone in retail management. As a leadership training consultant, I am often challenged with providing unique presentations. This month has been no exception, as I have been asked to facilitate a leadership training seminar based on the leadership skills of Santa Claus. Yes, that's right Santa Claus. The seminar I plan to present is based off the 2003 book by Steve Ventura entitled "The Leadership Secrets of Santa Claus." I highly recommend the book as a light and somewhat humorous read that helps to reinforce some proven strategies for effective leadership. Below I have outlined the general principles in the book for your review so you can begin leading like Santa!
1. Build a Wonderful Workshop: Make the organization's mission the main thing. Focus on your people as well as your purpose. Let values be your guide.
2. Choose Your Reindeer Wisely: Hire tough so you can manage easy. Promote the right ones …for the right reasons. Go for the diversity advantage.
3. Make a List and Check It Twice: Plan your work. Work your plan. Make the most of what you have.
4. Listen to the Elves: Open your ears to participation. Pay attention to how you're perceived. Perception is often more important than reality. Walk awhile in THEIR shoes.
5. Get Beyond the Red Wagons: Help everyone accept the reality of change. Remember, the customer is really in charge. Teach "The Business" of the business to your employees.
6. Share the Milk and Cookies: Help them see the difference they make. Do right by those who do right. Expand the reinforcement of possibilities.
7. Find Out Who's Naughty and Nice: Confront employee performance problems…early. Coach the majority in the middle, your middle stars. Motivate and support your super stars that may need less coaching and more kudos.
8. Be Good for Goodness Sake: Lead by example. Establish transparent performance guidelines and accountability measures. Remember, that everything counts when it comes to quality.
Dr. Larry Ferguson is the Dean of Community Workforce & Economic Development for Ashland Community and Technical College and an experienced adjunct instructor for Mountain State University. For over a decade he has facilitated leadership training and keynotes for business, industry, government, healthcare and higher education. He specializes in professional development, workforce education, personal enrichment education, strategic planning facilitation and organizational wellness.