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What Leaders are Learning

Leaders Echo Holiday Classics

Leaders Echo Holiday Classics

Leadership Spokane is committed to the truism that leaders always learn. Every holiday season, I am reminded how the holiday classics we see play on TV reflect timeless leadership lessons. The lessons are simple yet appealing beyond their nostalgia. Recently visiting a zoo, the line for parents waiting with their children to take a picture with Rudolph was longer than traditional Santa line. Rudolph resonates and his holiday classic is likely the most popular of all.
Beyond Rudolph, Frosty the Snowman may be the simplest leadership tale of all. Blogger Bill Moyer in his December 2012 article, “Leadership Lessons from Frosty the Snowman,” chronicles Frosty’ s excellent leadership abilities: positive thinking, resilience and fun. Despite rising temperatures, Frosty remains gallant and headstrong. Pun intended, Frosty’s leadership never melts. The most telling line: “Let’s run and we’ll have some fun now before I melt away.” Frosty’s go-getter leadership is exactly the decisive leadership society celebrates.
Rudolph’s plot is not as simple as Frosty, with bullying themes and other messages that should be fleshed out as families. What is apparent, though, that like Frosty, Rudolph is a straightforward leader who, when asked by Santa if would guide his sleigh tonight, answers, “It would be an honor.” This firm answer, despite the disappointment he faced for most of the tale. Blogger Bill Moyer likewise articulates Rudolph’s strengths in his December 2010 article, “Leadership Lessons from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” Moyer reminded me of another strong leader in the story, Rudolph’s girlfriend, Clarice. She aptly demonstrates servant leadership to the core, believing in Rudolph when no one else does. She then ventures forth to search for him after he runs away. Clarice is brave and the glue that holds the story together. She is the first leader of the story, later joined by Rudolph and the dentist elf, Hermey. Her leadership ignites them all to successful action.
Rudolph is emblematic of so many leaders today. Far from perfect, his strengths revolve around his innocence, drive, courage and compassion, returning to the Island of Misfit Toys to find them homes. While straightforward in presentation, I am heartened that for five decades, youth have enjoyed the simple lessons of these heartwarming stories of Frosty and Rudolph. I always preach that most of life’s leadership lessons are timeless and that the great multiplier for leaders is experience which builds confidence. These core principles have not evolved over time. Rudolph and Frosty teach us this. This holiday season, and throughout the year, leaders should echo the positivity, resilience and fun of Frosty and courage and caring of Clarice and Rudolph. They work in our holiday dreams and the real world too and we don’t need a red nose or corn cob pipe either. Best yet, every year the lessons return…as Frosty reminds us: “But he waved goodbye, Saying don't you cry I'll be back again someday.”
"I think it’s a handsome nose. Much better than that silly false one you were wearing." ~ Clarice