Santa the Strength-Blind Leader

by  David Dye  |  Leadership Development
Santa the Strength-Blind Leader

Year after year, Christmas after Christmas, I’ve watched the Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer TV special and cringed at the atrocious leadership displayed by nearly every adult character.

Donner rejects his son. Santa ignores Rudolph’s obvious leaping skills because of his nose. The workshop foreman ridicules Harvey (the elf with dentistry aspirations).

Of course, you know how things work out. Santa studied his Peter Drucker:

The effective executive makes strength productive. He knows that one cannot build on weakness. To achieve results, one has to use all the available strengths–the strengths of associates, the strengths of the superior, and one’s own strengths. These strengths are the true opportunities. To make strength productive is the unique purpose of organization. It cannot, of course, overcome the weaknesses with which each of us is abundantly endowed. But it can make them irrelevant. Its task is to use the strength of each man as a building block for joint performance.
~ -The Effective Executive

Do you build on your team’s strengths or do you waste strength, time, and energy focused on “weaknesses”? Let Santa be your guide.

Santa the Strength-Blind Leader

Santa, the strength-blind leader
Had a special flying deer,
But if you can believe it
Santa wouldn’t let him near.
All because his nose was red
Santa wouldn’t let him work;
He never valued Rudolph
In fact he was quite a jerk.
Then one foggy Christmas eve,
Santa came to see.
Strengths are all you really need,
Weakness is a waste to heed.
Then how the Reindeer loved him
As they flew around and beamed.
Santa, the strength-based leader
Built a real productive team…

Take care and happy holidays!

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Articles By david-dye
I work with leaders who want to build teams that care and get more done with fewer headaches.  »  View Profile

What People Are Saying

Jon Stallings  |  23 Dec 2014  |  Reply

What a neat analogy David- i will never see that show the same – and that is a good thing. Leadership lessons are everywhere. I just hope I am not blind to them.

David Dye  |  23 Dec 2014  |  Reply

I hope I haven’t ruined it for you Jon ;)

You are right – those lessons are everywhere for us!

Take care,


Paula Kiger (Big Green Pen)  |  23 Dec 2014  |  Reply

I really really enjoyed this piece, David! It is so easy to focus on weaknesses when you are a leader, because they are so vexing … it’s easy to feel that they can’t be “fixed” or turn into assets for the team. Thanks, Santa, for the reminder about how to reframe!

David Dye  |  23 Dec 2014  |  Reply

Good point Paula. They can be vexing…the reframing of looking for what is right, good, and productive in a person – what they do contribute vs what they don’t – can’t help but change our leadership perspective.

Take care,


Dale  |  23 Dec 2014  |  Reply

Loved it. Sometimes the lightbulb just has to come on.

David  |  25 Dec 2014  |  Reply

Thanks Dale :)

John Smith  |  26 Dec 2014  |  Reply

Hi, David:)

Well, giggling out loud at the creativity and learning in this one. You have officially changed my perception of this Christmas Classic for the rest of my life … I guess that’s what we are all trying to do, isn’t it?

Others have focused on the reframing aspect, which is very important.

I’ll just note that the song, with your new words, is now setled firmly in my ear …


David Dye  |  02 Jan 2015  |  Reply

Hi John – with apologies for the ear-worm, I hope we’ve elevated a Christmas classic :) Happy New Year!

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