A leader must be as jealously protective of their people as they are zealously focused on their goal.
And as the Christmas season is upon us, you can find a vivid picture of how these two vital leadership principles can be intertwined by looking at one of the time-honored carols of the season.
In Good King Wenceslas you find the compelling account of a 10th century Bohemian leader, as revered for his servant’s heart as he was for his ability to remain focused on his mission.
Though the song likely contains as much myth as it does fact, it is widely regarded as being based on a real person, and the events depicted in the song are considered to be an accurate reflection of the “good King’s” character.
As such, the carol serves as a timely seasonal reminder for leaders of one of the importance of remaining as vigilantly focused on the welfare of the people you serve as it is on being resolutely focused on the achievement of the goal.
According to the carol, Wenceslas observed a poor man gathering firewood on a bitterly cold winter night. Moved with compassion, the king asked his page to accompany him in bringing food and drink out to the man.
As they journeyed out, the night became too cold even for the page, at which point the King ensured that the page walk behind him, so that the page would be protected from the biting wind.
If this classic carol accomplished nothing more than to fill you will the yuletide spirit, it has done its job.
But don’t be afraid to delve into the leadership qualities it espouses too.
For in this simple story you’ll find 5 profound leadership principles. In order to be both goal-focused and people-obsessed, leaders must be:
Relentlessly focused on the goal,
Driven to move quickly to action,
Able to mobilize teams,
Committed to modeling values of servant leadership,
Fiercely protective of their own team
(If you haven’t sung this carol for a few years, you can find the lyrics here.)
So at your next Christmas gathering, enjoy all that the season has to offer. And when the carols are being sung, join in with full gusto.
And should Good King Wenceslas be included, take a moment to reflect on the leadership principles it contains.
It could enrich both your Christmas and your leadership.