If Santa’s reindeer have characteristics that match their names, he will have certainly put in a lot of effort to get such a diverse group working well as a team
Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen and of course Rudolph – from the research I have done their personalities range from stubborn to playful; from energetic to majestic; from loving to loving a challenge – a great range of qualities that any leader would be pleased to have in his team.
Whilst such different qualities will enhance any team, getting them to the point of working well together doesn’t happen by accident. Such different personalities are likely to have different priorities, values and have different views on the best way to ensure the team succeeds.
Here is some of what Santa did to get such a diverse group to be a productive team:
- He established a common goal for them
- He understood them as individuals and created an environment where there differences were not judged
- He made sure he encouraged ‘we’ instead of ‘me’
- He built in a sense of fun
Building an effective team is not a one off – teams grow and develop and people leave and join; Santa had to re-build the team when Rudolph joined (he was a newcomer and only joined the team in 1939!). As we know conflict arose with superficial differences between Rudolph and the rest of the team and Mr. Claus worked hard as a leader to get the team working effectively together again.
Santa’s demonstration of his ability to build effective teams extends to the elves in the workshop. Here the requirement is very different – we do not know much about the elves personalities, but we do know there are many, many of them producing the billions of presents. Although different challenges, the principles he applied to build the team remains the same.
Santa recognised team building will not always happen organically and a great leader will find ways to facilitate the team building to ensure great team success.