National Turkey Day is once again upon us. Some people enjoy and others dread the holidays. The food, the family and commercials, all can be a bit overwhelming. But if you can keep your wits about you, the holidays can be a time of fun and learning as well. Here are seven clear leadership take-a-ways to be had this Thursday.

1. Plan well.

Whether you are the host or traveling to see the folks, there are a myriad of potential problems associated with Thanksgiving. Among them are traffic jams, uncooked birds, deep fryer house fires and unforeseen family feud fistfights. Avoid these issues by setting some time aside to think through how the holiday will play out. Spontaneous pleasure works better when you have foreseen most of the obstacles. Make some notes, take some precautions and prepare to have fun.

2. Recruit a compatible team.

You may not be able to control who attends the holiday festivities, but you can choose who is in your direct company. If the party is at your house, consider the mix and invite people who you know you can trust and support you. If you are heading into a hostile environment, bring along an advocate and plan an escape route to a more hospitable environment.

3. Meet or exceed expectations.

Don't invite a bunch of people over randomly and just expect they'll be thrilled with the standard turkey fare. Think through the experience your guests are looking for. Get their input upon invitation and design the experience accordingly. It doesn't have to be a Martha Stewart affair. Even TV dinners, beer and big screen can be the perfect Thanksgiving affair for some people. Find out what will make them thankful to you for a great day, and then deliver.

4. Pick your battles.

Great leaders know they can't win every fight. You are bound to get that hated cheek pinch from Aunt Martha or get into that fight about facts with Uncle Charlie despite the availability of Google on your smartphone. Remember the objective is to get through the day with as little collateral emotional damage as possible. Set your limits and only go to war when something critical is at stake.

5. Establish your limits.

Gluttony isn't pretty. And lord knows there will be enough carbs and booze to take down an army this weekend. Pre determine your limits so you can stay sharp and resourceful. That extra helping of stuffing can cost you the time for 3 more workouts next week. And by all means, there is no amount of good wine or booze worth a DUI or an accident. Exercise restraint.

6. Help everyone keep perspective.

Senses will be heightened and alcohol will flow, which makes for a fun holiday. But if things get out of hand, it's your chance to shine with your leadership qualities. Bring in the calm and remind people of all the great benefits of spending time together. Help remind people why they care about each other. If you can resolve family squabbles, workplace conflict will seem easy as pie, pumpkin, in fact.

7. Let everyone see your gratitude.

This holiday has definitely been over commercialized, but there is a core purpose, which is to give our thanks to the forces of nature and the people in our lives for the great bounty of good things bestowed upon us. Everyone has something to be thankful for and most have many blessings to count. Make sure others see how grateful you are for the blessings in your life and help them do the same by your example.

On that note, I am thankful for all of the reader support this year. From the bottom of my heart, thank you all and please enjoy a blessed holiday.

Published on: Nov 26, 2014
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