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Monday, October 31, 2022

Five Leadership Lessons From Halloween

Each day we are presented with experiences that can teach us key aspects of leadership. Halloween is today! Whether you’re going to a party or have kids you have to rope into their costumes, Halloween is a holiday you shouldn’t be sleeping on. Let’s take a moment to think about how this fall holiday can teach us valuable lessons in leadership.

Here are five that definitely come to mind:

  1. Identity matters. One of the reasons people like Halloween is that they get to take on different identities. 

Lesson: While that might be fun, as a leader, your identity must be consistent and familiar. Masks might be fun on Halloween, but as a leader, you can’t wear one at work. To be most effective, you must be real, transparent and authentic.

  1. Engagement matters. Halloween parties are fun for many people. Why? Because everyone is engaged! Everyone participates! Many people put a great deal of effort into their costumes, and they like to talk about how they come up with and executed their ideas. They enjoy the music, the games, the contests and just being around other people. 

Lesson: When people are engaged in an activity, they’ll put in the time and effort needed to succeed. What can you do to encourage your people to be as engaged in their work as they were when coming up with this year’s costume?

  1. Creativity is important. Creativity is everywhere you look on Halloween. From house decorations to costumes and everything in between, people go all out to make the most of the holiday. Even the most straight-laced people will get a little wild on Halloween, and most people are really excited about the whole process. 

Lesson: When you give people an outlet and purpose for their creativity, they will be creative. Make sure you’re finding ways to allow people’s creativity to flourish. Your team and the organization will benefit big time if you do.

  1. Treats over Tricks. When I was growing up, the neighborhood kids would egg houses that didn’t decorate for Halloween or give out good candy. Oddly enough, it didn’t make them any more likely to get into the spirit the next year.

Lesson: You’ll get further with treats than you will with tricks. That is really by way of saying that we must make sure we don’t neglect recognition.  We can’t hit our folks over the head with rules, regulations, and processes continuously and expect them to want to improve. We need to provide training and feedback while recognizing achievements along the way.

  1. Fun matters. One of the reasons Halloween is one of the most popular adult holidays is that it gives people permission to just have fun. There isn’t any other “reason” for the holiday. It is just about fun. 

Lesson: Remember that people need to have fun sometimes to be productive the rest of the time.

Leaders need remain open to learning from all situations, people, and experiences. The leaders who inspire me understand leadership is not about costumes, tricks, and treats. There is a depth and meaning to leadership we each discover in our own way.

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