It’s that exciting time right before Christmas when kids cram for their big performance review. Where will the big guy watching from the North Pole mark them on the naughty-nice scale? Will it be enough to get them into the next gift bracket?

In the hustle and bustle of your own cramming, busyness, traveling, and shopping, take a time out to contemplate the leadership lessons we can learn from Santa — but make sure you pull over or get out of the mall crowd’s path!

We Create Our Own Reality

Life is an optical illusion. Happiness is a choice. 90 percent of what we worry about never happens. How much more incredible is flying reindeer than wearing crap glasses, looking for all that’s wrong, and worrying ourselves sick?

Being Nice Has Its Rewards

Optimism, hope, and building on strengths mean we enjoy life much more than the poor Grinch who’s making himself and everyone else miserable. We tend to get back what we give. Leadership research on the “soft skills” of Emotional Intelligence, team spirit, and high-performance cultures shows the payoffs of treating people well.

Leadership Can Come from Unlikely Places

Leadership is action, not a position. Rudolph saved the day because Santa was flexible and open to leadership emerging from unconventional places during the foggy crisis. He built an agile, change adaptive organization with a strong sense of commitment to each other and their mission.

Setting Priorities and Managing Processes

You think you’re overwhelmed! How about the logistics of delivering toys to all the world’s kids in 24 hours? The Big Guy and his team spend a large percentage of their year planning and preparing for the big day. Is it time to assess how you’re using your time?

Stay Nourished and Get Help along the Way

Santa frequently stops for milk and cookies for himself and carrots for the reindeer. Although he might be better off with fewer cookies and more carrots, he does take the pause that refreshes and makes sure his team is well fed too.

Or…how about Life and Leadership Lessons from Scrooge?

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens has never gone out of print since he self-published it in 1843!  There are many life and leadership lessons we can draw from Scrooge the “…squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner” as he goes from “Bah, Humbug” through a series of “aha” experiences. Click here to read my top five.

Let’s learn from Santa’s elf-help manual or Scrooge’s ghostly facilitators and take some time during the holidays to reflect on what’s really important before we rush headlong into the New Year.