We could learn a few things from the stout, bearded gentleman who sports a red suit with white trim and has a way of making people feel good this time of year.

Yes, Santa Claus.

He faces shifting demands, a challenging production schedule and a hostile work environment. He has to attract talented employees and convince them to relocate to the North Pole. He also must “retool his plant – and retrain his people” annually to build the gifts that are most in demand each year.

Despite the challenges, Santa Claus loves what he does.

Those attributes are part of a summary on a book written by Eric Harvey, the best-selling author "Walk the Talk" and a consulting business with the same name. His book using the jolly St. Nick as a model is titled "The Leadership Secrets of Santa Claus; How to Get Big Things Done in Your "Workshop" All Year Long."

Now wouldn't that be the gift that keeps on giving?

Harvey wrote "The Leadership Secrets of Santa Claus" in 2015, but getAbstract.com highlighted it in an email this week. Five years ago, Trine University in Angola hosted a "Lunch and Learn" workshop tied to the book's principles.

A description on Amazon.com describes Harvey's Leadership Secrets book as offering insider advice from the North Pole that will "allow you to use the invaluable gifts of every team member."

Mission provides the foundation, the getAbstract book summary said. Santa and his team know "making spirits bright" by delivering high-quality goods to youth is priority. They discuss how each person can contribute, which requires being accessible physically and mentally to the team, listening to concerns and needs, and keeping them in the loop with good communication.

It starts, too, with hiring. Leaders can't afford to have misfits. And promotions, like Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer essentially gained, should be handled with care.

Planning is also important. Santa has 364 days to strategize, produce and one day to execute, the book summary said.

That's not realistic, of course, for leaders in most businesses or organizations. It can, however, be a reminder that massive tasks can be broken down into smaller chunks, supported by a written action plan.

The summary does highlight some strategies that should work for most any leader - the ones visible year-round. They include:

  • Give recognition when it's due. Be specific and personal with positive feedback.
  • Help employees succeed. Go beyond specific job training to include cross-training in other areas.
  • Confront performance problems or other problems directly. Don't let them fester.
  • Every workforce has a range of “stars” – keep them from “falling,” encourage those in the “middle” and recognize and reward your “super stars.”

To share a thought, a favorite quote or other wisdom about leadership, email Lisa Green at lisagreen@jg.net. Lead On also appears as a column in The Journal Gazette's Sunday Business section.