A "Dash" of Leadership

A "Dash" of Leadership Main Photo

21 Dec 2018

Blog, Holiday

Let’s talk reindeer.


Can we all agree Rudolph got a bit lucky. A foggy night, a nose so bright, and, HO HO HO, you’re the most famous reindeer of all. Talent, meet timing.


But another flyer deserves some extra hay tucked away in his manger: Dasher.


Dasher was the big buck at the North Pole. Why do we say that? For one thing, Santa always calls him out first: “On Dasher, on Dancer, on Prancer, etc.” And his name, Dasher, just fits the leading man role. It’s—dare we say it—dashing.


Comet is as unreliable as a shooting star. Cupid is small and flighty. And Vixen? She’s the flirt at the office Christmas party, a scandal waiting to happen. Anywhere she goes, antlers start clashing.


So it’s midnight clear, Dasher was the man. Which means it was Dasher who suffered the coldest slight on that fateful flight. A year of training, a year of hoof checks and sleigh maintenance,  a year of filing paperwork with the FAA, and all it takes is a bit of foul weather to get stuck staring at Red Nose’s rump.


But did Dasher cry? Did Dasher pout? Nope, he stepped into harness and pulled. Oh, holy night, how he pulled.


And in doing so, he demonstrated an oft-forgotten principle of leadership: Good leaders know when to follow.


Dasher did not let the fog of pride dim his judgment. He knew Rudolph was the right deer for the job. When Santa turned to the Little Lightbulb and posed his historic question, “Won’t you guide my sleigh tonight,” Dasher held his head high and shouldered Rudolph to the front of the herd. In doing so he, he signaled to the other seven team members that all was calm, all was bright. By following, he led.


Santa’s annual delivery run is less than a week away. No doubt Dasher will get the start once again, but should he get in trouble he knows there’s a reliable reliever in the buck—err, bullpen. Do we have the same confidence here in the Iowa Lakes region? This New Year, let’s resolve to find opportunities to bring shining newcomers forward in our businesses and communities. No need to wait for a foggy night. Just give them a wink, hand them the reins, and remind them we’re right behind.