Gift Giving – How do leaders do it?

As the holiday season nears its end, I enjoy taking time to reflect on what makes this time of year so enjoyable. Maybe it’s the snowy Ohio weather. Maybe it’s the holiday music and cheerful people, or maybe it’s the feeling you get when you give gifts to the special people in your life.


Despite the holiday rush and pressure, isn’t it nice to see the look on a loved one’s face when they open the gifts that you gave them? Sometimes a lot of planning goes into a gift, but sometimes you know EXACTLY what you want to give someone. Either way, holiday shopping and gift giving definitely requires people to use some leadership skills. When you find the right gift, you somehow know that it’s perfect for the recipient you’re going to give it to. You have, in some way, used your observational skills to decide what to give.

Good leaders will pay close attention to the people surrounding them. It is extremely important to take a step back to observe what’s going on. He or she will notice how people interact with others, how people handle their responsibilities and how to assign certain tasks to the proper person. The ability to take a step back for observation is equally (and sometimes more) important than the ability to actually lead by taking a step forward.

I’m happy to share that I have some true leaders (or observers) in my life. I don’t ask for much around Christmas, but I usually on the receiving end of many great gifts. My mother hit it out of the park with my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles pajamas, which totally makes me feel like I’m a kid again, and my in-laws surprised me with a Cyclocross bicycle that I can use on the many towpath trails in the Summit County Metro Parks (located in/near the Cuyahoga Valley). My wife gave me a home brewing kit, which I’ve been wanting for some time now, along with a Road ID that I can wear while cycling!




How did these people know what to get me? My in-laws thought about past experiences and events. My wife thought about things I might have said recently and my mother thought about my favorite group of turtles from my childhood. No matter how they decided, they used their observational skills, and used them successfully.

Did you give some great gifts this holiday season? How did you decide what to buy? Please share your experiences by leaving a comment!

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