What Christmas Movies have taught me about Leadership…#3

One of the all time Christmas movie classics is a movie called, The Christmas Story.

It is set in the 1940s, chronicling a young boy named Ralphie, who attempts to convince his parents, his teacher, AND Santa that a Red Ryder BB gun really is the perfect Christmas gift. In fact, there are so many great and funny moments from this movie. The LEG LAMP, the F R A G I L E E E box, the freaky SANTA pushing Ralphie down the slide and nobody will ever forget the infamous TRIPLE DOG DARE, the mother of all dares!  But with each of those moments comes an indelible leadership lesson.

  • The LEG LAMP! The dad was obsessed with it, I mean it was a ‘major prize’. In leadership, obsessions always lead to distortions. The more we believe we must have something or do something the more it distorts the truth. Leadership must be fluid and as soon as you make something an absolute, it owns you. A leader is always flexible.


  • The FREAKY SANTA!  Ralphie was determined to put his dream of owning a Red Ryder BB gun in front of the ‘BIG MAN’, but it fell flat when he heard the words ‘you’ll shoot your eye out kid.’ Often in leadership we seek people’s approval. All of us have a ‘SANTA’ we are trying to impress, gain their approval or seek their attention. Healthy leadership pursues the focus of the vision and never the approval of a person. A leader is always driven by a vision.


  • THE TRIPLE DOG DARE! And finally, the best moment, the infamous triple dog dare! Leaders like to dream. They like to risk. In other words, every leader is influenced by their own triple dog dare moment. We are all tempted to lead from a place of trying to prove something. If we aren’t careful our leadership will take risks not because they’re wise and courageous but because they’re perceived as impressive. A leader always asks hard questions of themselves, before they charge the hill.

A Red Ryder BB gun, or leg lamp may not be in your future but it may be wise to consider these questions:

What’s my Leg Lamp? Who’s my Freaky Santa? And where is the Triple Dog Dare in my life?

Answering these questions, may just help you lead even better in 2019.

By: Patrick Detken