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When you’ve been in HR for as long as I have, you can imagine how often this question has been asked of me. To be honest, I don’t think that I’ve been able to give the same answer each time. Why is that? Well, for starters, leadership does involve continuing education, and I’m always reading about this subject. Think about it. Even people who aren’t dealing with leadership issues on a day-to-day basis have been reading and hearing more than ever about leadership over the past six months — the qualities and characteristics of a good leader. Just check out the daily news reports about how well some of the biggest public companies and nonprofits are or aren’t being led to the upcoming inauguration of our new president.


With the holiday season upon us, and as we start to make our resolutions for the new year, what better time to opine on the question: what makes a good leader? As I’ve said, I do a lot of reading. So, keeping with the spirit of the holiday season, I have two recommendations that you may want to consider. Hopefully you’ll decide to spend a little time reading.


Do you believe in Santa Claus? Well, it doesn’t matter if you believe or not. With religious and cultural celebrations this month from Eid al-Adha to Christmas to Hanukkah to Kwanzaa, no matter your religious or cultural beliefs, if you’re a leader in an organization, you may find this interesting: The Leadership Secrets of Santa Claus. This book offers a clever, common-sense approach to leadership that new leaders and seasoned ones alike will consider a good resource. Among the eight strategies you’ll learn: what it takes to build a wonderful workshop, listen to the elves, and find out who’s naughty and nice. Santa has good insight about building a high-performance team, change management and retention.


For those of you who may want to do a little soul searching over the holidays, pick up: Leading with Soul: An Uncommon Journey of Spirit. If you’re interested in how the ideas of authorship, love — yes, you read that right — power and significance play a role in leadership, this quick read is for you. This book is a parable, and you’ll embark on a journey along with the main character, Steve. As he finds his way, you may also gain more insight about yourself — your soul and even your passions in life.


I’d like to share a quick movie with you that I hope you’ll enjoy as much as I did:


Happy Holidays!