Halloween is a tradition that started well before any of us were born. It was originally an attempt to ward off ghosts, but over time, Halloween has evolved into something less serious with our families. We wear costumes, go trick-or-treating, carve pumpkins, and enjoy a night of fun.
As exceptional leaders do, we can look for lessons in every opportunity—including a tradition such as Halloween. What leadership lessons did you draw out of Halloween when you were a kid?
Here are a few of mine:
- Planning and Negotiation. I wanted to have an awesome costume (likely you did, too)—one that friends and neighbors would admire. I would think long and hard about what the best costume could be. Then I’d negotiate with my parents to dress up as that special character (even if it meant doing extra chores in the bargain). Lesson: To be the best, decide what that looks like, then plan to achieve it. At times, you will need to negotiate to get exactly what you want.
- Competition and Sales. When trick-or-treating with my friends, we went to the same doors and ended up with the same haul of goodies. I competed with my older sister who went door to door with her friends to bring in the largest haul. It wasn’t a matter of being greedy (or was it?). It was a matter of working harder, smarter, and longer to get more sales (treats) than she did. Lesson: When you compete, establish a reasonable goal, then find ways to achieve it by differentiating yourself from your competition.
- Patience and Delegation. When it was time to carve the annual Halloween pumpkin, I stepped back. I did not have the skill, patience, or desire to do it. So, I cheered on my dad and sister who successfully completed the task. Lesson: Know your skills. Leverage the ones you are good at and delegate what you can as you work on the skills you need to improve.
Look for leadership lessons in every facet of life—they are always present.
Whether you’re treat-or-treating, watching a movie, driving down the road, or even shopping, there are always lessons nearby. Learn from them, apply them, and perfect them.
To find those lessons, do what exceptional leaders do:
- Be curious.
- Be observant.
- Be intentional.