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Leadership Lessons from Alice

…with a little help from a cat.

Alice in wonderland cut out paper puppets.

Alice in Wonderland, written by Lewis Carroll in 1865, is a classic children's book. The story follows Alice as she falls down a rabbit hole and finds herself in a whimsical world full different creatures and interesting situations.

There’s a short conversation in this story that we love and is relevant to the world of leadership. Do you remember when Alice was walking along the path and came upon the Cheshire cat? She asked, “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?” The Cheshire cat replies, “that depends a good deal on where you want to get to.” To which Alice then replies, “I don’t much care where-.” The Cheshire cat jumps in and responds, “Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.” Alice jumps back in and says “-so long as I go somewhere.” And the Cheshire cat responds, “Oh you’re sure to do that. If only you walk long enough.”

The point is, is we don’t have clarity as a leader then how are we supposed to lead our teams to success? How will they know where to walk (our destination) if we don’t have that figured ourselves?

We believe, Alice demonstrated great qualities of a successful leader traveling on their journey.

Think about Alice’s ability to embrace change – she is constantly encountering new hurdles from shrinking and growing, social challenges including the Mad Hatter’s rudeness, and trying to figure out the Queen’s game. Yet despite the challenges that were thrown her way, she had a readiness and willingness to try new approaches to overcome the challenges.

Not only was she extremely adaptable and resourceful, but she has showed a curious side to her personality. She wasn’t afraid to challenge people through asking questions, seeking out understanding and gathering new knowledge which she built from the environment around her. As a leader, we believe this willingness to learn and grow is critical for personal and team growth.

The other strong qualities she shares is her courage and bravery to stand up for what’s right, stay determined and focused and inspire those around her. Through this quality she demonstrated fairness and equality along her adventures to ensure no one is mistreated and that people have the opportunity to feel and be their best each day.

Even a whimsical children’s story has so much connection back to leadership. Through adaptability, resourcefulness, curiosity, courage and bravery, fairness and equality, and of course knowing what road to take, it shows us that even in the most unexpected, challenging situations, we can lead with gratitude, grace and grit if we choose to.


A Team Human Conversation

Fight workplace zombies in your organization and join Team Human! Gather a group of fellow workplace zombie hunters to discuss our most recent blog post. Use the questions below to kick start your conversation.

  1. What do you feel are your greatest leadership qualities?

  2. What do we have to gain from embracing change as a team?

  3. Think about another classic children’s story and share how the story demonstrates leadership qualities.


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