Charles Schultz’s holiday special A Charlie Brown Christmas has been a beloved favorite since it premiered in 1965 on CBS. After a year hiatus when it was shown only on Apple TV, A Charlie Brown Christmas is back by popular demand. It will air on PBS on December 19 at 6:30 p.m. Part of what has given this animated special so much staying power is the fact that it contains some timeless wisdom. In addition to the warm feeling it gives audiences, here are three leadership lessons you can take to heart from this classic:
1. Leading others gives you purpose. Charlie Brown can’t shake the winter doldrums and is headed for a blue Christmas. From her trusty psychiatrist’s booth, Lucy advises Charlie Brown to direct the annual Christmas pageant. “You need involvement,” Lucy sagely pronounces. When we lead others, we often find that we are the ones who truly benefit from the undertaking.
2. Unlikely choices can be winners. Charlie Brown walks through all the shining, synthetic trees on the lot in favor of a humble real tree. Charlie Brown is drawn to its authenticity. His selection for a tree is met with derision from the cast of the play. In the end, this homely little tree not only won over his friends, it’s become synonymous with the special. Over five decades later, calling something a “Charlie Brown Christmas tree” is still readily understood.
3. People need meaning. The Christmas pageant has been overrun with distractions and commercialism. An exasperated Charlie Brown cries out, “Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?” Linus responds with a humble, moving recitation of the Christmas story. Linus cuts through all the noise and refocuses those around him. With this renewed purpose, the gang comes together and creates a wonderful experience for each other and the audience. Workplace teams are hungry for vision. Good leaders gather employees around mission and values.