Leadership Lessons from Christmas

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

Leadership is messy


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


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.


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?