Leadership Lessons from Christmas

It doesn’t matter, skeptic, doubter, or believer, the Christmas Story contains useful leadership lessons.

Leadership is messy

Connect:

Leaders connect. Who can’t connect with a baby?

If leadership is all about people then connecting is essential. When I asked Henry Mintzberg for his favorite word of advice, he said one word, “Connect.”

Vulnerability:

Vulnerability is dangerous but necessary to connect. Vulnerability welcomes in.

I’m often tempted to pull away and protect myself. Isolation and silence are my preferred protection-strategies. Have you seen isolated leaders?

But, protection-mode slows everything and blocks relationship. Jettison protection – embrace vulnerability. Of course it’s dangerous. Leading is risky.

Control:

Control creates artificial, stagnant, imitation relationships. Run to the mess. Go so far as making the mess.

Messy:

The arrival of Jesus was messy. Animals and a stable aren’t optimal.

Embrace the mess; don’t wait for perfection. Every path forward has reasons it won’t work, reasons to wait.

All you’ll do is mess with ducks, if you wait till all your ducks are in a row.

Anger:

The arrival of Jesus infuriated some. Do something that ticks someone off.

If everyone loves what you do, you aren’t doing much.

First and toward:

Christmas is Jesus moving first and leaning toward. Jump in and do something. Step toward challenges not away.

What leadership lessons do you learn from religious holidays you celebrate?