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Lauren Dennish Lessons on leadership from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

The Christmas countdown has officially begun. The advent calendars are out, the office has Christmas tunes on a loop and the cold dark evenings are finally warming up with lots of sparkling lights.

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I find something quite comforting about the familiar traditions ringing through the festive period. But what’s really special, is when you learn something new from something that’s always been there. And that’s what’s happening with my first ever festive period working for Bray Leino Learning.

Learning about the L&D industry has been a highlight of my year, and it’s taught me a lot about the importance of taking control of lifelong learning. I’m starting to see opportunities to learn everywhere I go, and Christmas traditions are no exception.

When Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer started playing for the fifth time in the office this week, instead of grumbling like a grinch, I decided to learn something new from the old classic.

And, as it turns out, the story of Rudolph gives some pretty inspirational lessons on leadership:


A strong message we can learn from Rudolph’s story is the importance of diversity in leadership. Of course, morally and ethically supporting diversity throughout your organisation is something all businesses should be supporting. The message from Rudolph, however, seems to be a bit more focused on the bottom line.

When Santa asks Rudolph to light his sleigh, he was recognising that Rudolph’s diversity could help bring the team to the next level, and it did. Rudolph used his red nose – the very thing that made him different – to improve the efficiency, safety and speed of his sleigh team – delivering presents faster and better than ever before.


The lesson on inclusivity is actually taught by Santa himself. He sends a strong message on how businesses have an important role to play in encouraging inclusivity throughout their organisations.

We can see from the way the other reindeers exclude Rudolph, that a lack of inclusivity can be detrimental to a team and promising leaders. If Rudolph had experienced inclusivity early on from the other reindeers, just think about what he could have achieved. 

This message is only amplified when Santa enters the scene. He leads by example, appointing Rudolph with a key leadership position, which teaches the other reindeers the value of inclusivity.


Resilience is a key part of great leadership, and Rudolph is clearly a very resilient reindeer. A resilient reindeer maintains a positive attitude and a strong sense of opportunity during periods of turbulence, and that’s exactly what Rudolph does.

Thanks to Santa, Rudolph goes from having very little sleigh experience to leading the whole operation. There’s no doubt he would have experienced a bit of turbulence on those first few flights, but he very quickly became a well-loved leader, going down in reindeer history.

It’s true that Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer has a lot to teach us about leadership. But my favourite learning lesson is how important it is to keep learning something new, even if what you are looking at has always been the same.

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Lauren Dennish, Marketing Executive, Bray Leino Learning

Lauren is passionate about exploring new ways that developing a marketing mindset can help L&D – from creating learning cultures to improving learner engagement.

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