The Real Reason Rudolph Flew from Outcast to Hero is Not About Red Noses
No one sings about your nose. But when Santa said, “Won’t you guide my sleigh tonight?” Rudolph became the most famous reindeer in history.
But there’s more to Rudolph’s fame than bad weather and a red nose.
Life was misery until Rudolph solved a crisis one foggy night.
Before the foggy night:
Rudolph’s colleagues used to laugh and call him names.
I’ve seen employees weep because of destructive office gossip. Belittling and excluding destroy confidence and dissolve relationships.
At the risk of being put on the naughty list, it took a foggy night for Santa to appreciate Rudolph’s strength.
Disrespect destroys teams, but Santa did nothing.
Lousy leaders tolerate toxic culture.
Why Rudolph is the most famous reindeer:
Would you work with a leader who endorsed neglect and abuse?
“Where were you when all the reindeer laughed and called me names?”
Would you work with the team that belittled you?
“Yeah, now you love me!”
Rudolph is famous because blame and resentment didn’t destroy him.
Rudolph seized an opportunity to contribute, even though he had been unappreciated, disrespected, and abused.
Lessons from Rudolph:
If you hope to become the most famous reindeer, bring value even when you’re not recognized.
#1. Focus on opportunity, not disappointment.
#2. Forgiveness sets you free to serve. Resentment blocks contribution and empties life of meaning.
I’m not suggesting you tolerate name calling, but what will you do the next time you feel underappreciated?
#1. Including people gives them courage to contribute.
#2. Never tolerate disrespect on the team.
#3. The thing that irritates you about a team member might be an untapped strength looking for an opportunity.
What excuses do people give for NOT making their best contribution?
How might leaders create environments where people flourish instead of languish?
9 Consequences of Name Calling (verywellfamily.com)
Don’t Let Your Anger “Mature” Into Bitterness | Psychology Today
Dan, well written and insightful – appreciate you, tolerating toxic that will not change is just wrong. Feeling slightly disappointed in Santa, maybe a direct report (Elf) was the issue? Now I am making excuses for tolerating toxic.
Thanks Scott. Intervening when things go toxic is a huge leadership challenge. Should people work out their on tensions? Does this situation warrant intervention?
Your opening line is helpful. “tolerating toxic that will not change is just wrong.” … It’s still a challenge to know how to intervene.
I wonder if simply noticing with forward-facing curiosity might be useful.
great thought Dan – forward facing, hands open, transparency, etc. is much better than hoping (hope is needed, but not a strategy) for change.
Toxic environment–when the other reindeers make fun of Rudolph.
Should Santa intervene or should Santa coach Rudolph on actions he can take when people call him names or make fun of him?
Developing Rudolph’s skills help him grow and better prepares him for future challenges.
When our children or grandchildren get into an issue with a classmates–should we jump in and try to fix things. I think we provide more help when we coach our kids and help our gain insights and develop skills that will help them solve the problem.
Thanks Paul. Very helpful. Bullying is a challenging situation. I can think of a situation where I didn’t intervene, but should have. I’m still troubled by that.
Dan, You are correct.
There is a fine line as to when you should intervene versus coach the person.
Santa was canny and wise. Clearly the man doesn’t really need the light emitted from a 40 watt, reindeer snot covered bulb to span the globe in 1 day, navigating up and down chimneys etc. However, he saw the issue developing and decided to give Rudolph the opportunity to ‘shine’, as it were: the kid took it, the gamble paid off, and we all learned a lesson about valuing the weird and unique at a time in America when being weird was possibly even more painful for children than it is today. Santa knows what to do about naughty. Cheers
Thanks Cate. I must say you can see the bright side. I had to smile while reading your comment. 🙂 … Now I’m even more fearful of the naughty chair. I won’t put down Santa again!!
It reminds me of when coach Dale Dale hired Shooter to be his assistant coach.
Dan, this is one of your best! The light-hearted background suddenly becomes a powerful lesson. It’s easier to apply when we see demonstrated it in a “harmless” example. I said “light-hearted” because I usu. think of the song as a cheery one; after all, it has a happy ending! But you pointed out the reason this song sticks in our hearts. Thank you for your insights today and all year.
Thanks Peter. You have to enjoy the season. 🙂
I see “Toxicity” is like a Cancer if we don’t stop it runs rampant and infiltrates the entire group. The discussion above I see as the best option as a coach/mentor approach would seem to enlighten the participants. These types of surrounding are just wrong as “Scott mentions, we need to step up and address. “Where there is smoke there is Fire” lets snuff it out before we burn the house down! Cheers Dan, happy Friday…
Thanks Tim. It seems that noticing is essential or things get out of control.
bring value even when you’re not recognized. This is the key for me. Strive for value added in all you do whether anyone recognizes you or not. Inside you recognize yourself and you can pat yourself on the back knowing you are doing your best and adding value to others. Take the long run view that when you do face God, he says well done. Back everything up from that and the world sure is easier to take.
Thanks Roger. Let’s face it. We may feel unrecognized because we need lots of affirmation. In that case, people probably won’t appreciate us up to the level we feel we deserve. It turns into a negative fly wheel.
“Rudolph is famous because blame and resentment didn’t destroy him.”
Wow! This really hit home. I always struggle with these whenever they rear their heads in my life. Such a good perspective about where Rudolph really excelled!
Thanks Gabe. You aren’t alone. I write from experience. 🙂 … moving forward.