For those of you celebrating this holiday season, Christmas is a time when many reflect back on the past year and make an extra effort to connect with friends and family. However many don’t realise the leadership lessons that can be learnt from the festive season.
1. The Season of Giving - The old adage of ‘Christmas is about giving, not receiving’ also rings true for leadership. Successful leaders are those who give feedback, recognition and praise, and their time…on a daily basis. These leaders don’t worry about what they might receive from their boss, or their peers, they focus intensely on motivating and inspiring their teams to outperform.
In The Carrot Principle, a 10-year motivation study of over 200,000 employees concluded that the simple act of managers ‘recognising’ their employees results in them having lower turnover rates, better organisation results, and higher engagement levels. Give feedback promptly and regularly, give recognition and praise publicly and consistently, and give your time generously.
2. Spending time with family – Christmas is a time to spend with family and loved ones. Similarly, true leaders don’t spend their days locked away in their office, they make the effort to get out and spend time with their staff. They are the ones who take time out to walk around the floor, talk with their employees, understand their problems, and have an open door policy. You can’t create followers, or inspire employees if you don’t spend any time with them.
3. Presents – Ok, it’s as corny as the jokes in Christmas crackers, but leaders need to have executive presence, or as others might say, charisma or the wow factor. We’ve all met leaders who make heads turn when they walk into a room. They instantly command control of their audience.
They have the ability to influence, inspire and display an air of confidence and credibility. This is essential if you want to build your network and influence, both in your personal life and in your place of work. Executive presence isn’t just about your appearance; it’s about how you communicate, your character, and your authenticity.
4. Taking time out – For many, Christmas is a time to wind down after a long year and take some time off. However, have you ever noticed how the most inspiring leaders never seem to be as busy or stressed as those around them? These leaders are able to create a work-life balance that many can only dream of, and don’t spend every working hour in the office.
Taking time out to clear the mind through meditation, exercise, taking a walk, or catching up with a friend in the canteen, has been recognised as a way to increase creativity and productivity. Modern start-ups are renowned for encouraging employees to take time out every day through the use of break-out rooms, games rooms, and so on.
These firms are also renowned for their retention levels, ability to attract quality employees, and regularly have the highest engagement levels.
This season is a time to reflect, spend time with loved ones, and prepare for the year ahead. Give yourself a head start to 2015 and start applying these lessons to drive your leadership skills to new highs.
I wish you all a happy and successful 2015!