Three leadership lessons from Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Then all the reindeer loved him as they shouted out with glee, Rudolph the Red-nosed reindeer, you’ll go down in history! 
— Robert L. May
For many years, as the story goes, the Montgomery Ward department store in Chicago purchased and gave away coloring books as a promotion during the Christmas season.
In 1939, company executives wanted to do something that would both reduce costs and be new and different.
To help with the new project they turned to Robert L. May, a 34-year-old copywriter who was known to dabble in children’s limericks and stories. His creation was a short story written in rhyming verse and differed from the version known today. The original Rudolph lived in the woods with his loving parents far from the North Pole.
May’s story became an immediate success. Montgomery Ward gave away 2.4 million copies of the story in 1939 and by 1946, despite wartime paper shortages, over 6 million copies had been distributed. Faced with large medical bills because of his wife’s battle with cancer, May asked Montgomery Ward officials if he could have the copyright to Rudolph turned over to him. The company agreed and that same year the story was published commercially.
From the song, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, come leadership lessons that are still applicable today. Here are three lessons that will serve you well regardless of the season.
We all have gifts and abilities
Rudolph was the object of scorn by the other reindeer who mistakenly thought that because he was different from the others then he didn’t have anything to contribute.
The truth is, we all come in different shapes, sizes, and with unique gifts. It is not in the similarities that we stand out but in our differences. The gifts and talents you bring to the table of your business or organization may not look like anything else in your company, but that is your gift. As you embrace and celebrate those gifts, others will also come to appreciate what you have to offer.
We all face opposition
Because his appearance was different from others around him, Rudolph faced opposition. There will always be people who will oppose you not based on your appearance as in the story, but because you have a different perspective, you have a different attitude, and you bring an optimistic mindset to the challenges you face.
When you embrace that which causes you to stand out you are on your way to the top.
Some may ridicule you, others may join you, but never lose sight of what makes you special. Regardless of your opposition, never surrender your uniqueness to any opposition.
Your moment to shine will eventually come
It is in the little things that you prove yourself. Even though Rudolph faced opposition from the others, he didn’t allow their negativity to stop him. In the moment of crisis when Santa needed a go-to reindeer, Rudolph was ready. Armed with his natural giftedness
and positive attitude, he navigated the team of his fellow reindeer to the successful completion of the Christmas mission.
Your moment of destiny will come one day and it may not happen the way you expected. Open your eyes to all the possibilities that your leadership can provide. When you remain faithful in the small things, greater opportunities will come your way.
Final Thoughts
This Christmas season, celebrate your gift as a leader, rise above your opposition, and stand ready to embrace your destiny. As you do, you will have a greater understanding of just how special the season can be.
Merry Christmas!
©2020 Doug Dickerson. Read more at Email Doug at

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