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Leadership Advice from Jolly Old St. Nicholas

Leadership Advice from Jolly Old St. Nicholas

Steve Svoboda, MBA, Vice President of Medical Education & Designated Institutional Official (DIO), Ascension Illinois 

It seems everyone has either owned a book or received advice on how to be a better leader either personally or professionally. Many people often think of a leader as someone who leads others in a work environment. Leaders are also often found in other environments such as the home, church, playground, north pole, and the list goes on. Yes, there is a leader who lives at the north pole. One book that I own often stands out as one of my favorites of many leadership books that I have. For a fun and non-traditional read I recommend the book, “The Leadership Secrets of Santa Claus” by Eric Harvey. This book is an easy read and can be read in under one hour. 

Mission Focusing on People & Purpose. Yes, that is right, who would have known that one of the world’s famous leaders lives at the north pole. The immortal jolly old St. Nick has been demonstrating leadership for all good girls and boys. Building a wonderful Santa’s workshop starts with building a mission focusing on people and purpose. Let values be the guide to developing a foundation that will lead to success. 

The people around you are an important part of accomplishing success so choose the reindeer wisely. Even if there is one bad reindeer, it can derail the goal of delivering presents on time. The team will ultimately make our mission happen, and staffing is the single most important responsibility a leader will face. The time spent hiring the right way is nothing compared to the time spent dealing with the wrong reindeer. A fledgling team will be costly, inefficient, time consuming, stressful, and quite frankly unacceptable. 

Plan with the Mission in Mind. Be sure to make a list and check it twice. Successful leaders often think ahead and plan the course with the mission in mind. Keeping in mind 6 questions: What, Why, When, Where, Who, and How? After all, Santa Claus needs to consider each of these questions in order to successfully go down the chimney and deliver presents to all good girls and boys. A direct quote from Santa, “If we want to hear jingle bells ringing on the 24th, we need to set and live by goals… all year long.”

And we can’t forget about the elves. They are critical to the success of any organization. As a leader, one should consider listening to the team. Open your ears to participation. Pay attention to how you are perceived. Walk awhile in their shoes. Be self-aware and demonstrate emotional intelligence and they will be loyal to you.

I don’t want to spoil the rest of this book. But if you are looking for a leadership book written by the famous man in a big red suit, be sure to stuff your stockings this year. 

Harvey E. Leadership Secrets of Santa Claus: How to Get Big Things Done in YOUR" Workshop"... All Year Long. Sourcebooks, Inc.; 2015 Oct 6.

Brief Bio: Steve Svoboda is the Vice President of Medical Education and DIO for the Ascension Illinois market. Prior to joining Ascension, Steven has been involved in medical education for 12 years working for various organizations in Illinois, South Carolina, and Michigan. Mr. Svoboda has an educational background in business with an undergraduate degree in business organizational management and graduate degree in business administration. He is also currently enrolled in a doctorate degree in business. Steve also has a certificate in lean six sigma black belt from Villanova University. When Steve finds time outside of work and school, he loves to spend time with his wife and 3 girls.