In pantomime, the villains are often the most interesting characters, whether a cross-dressing Dame, a wicked stepmother or the Queen of Air and Darkness herself. The leading girl is often little more than a cipher – Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty are not really empowered heroines. We like Little Red though, and Belle who sees the good in and marries the Beast.
In our first ‘panto piece’ we told about Jack, who believed the beans he was conned into taking were magic, which seems a tad foolish. Well, there are all sorts of magic in the world and the beans were indeed magical. Now we take another classic trope – the struggle between the force and the dark side.
Kai and Gerda are childhood friends torn apart by the terrible and magical Snow Queen who abducts Kai, by piercing his eyes and heart with slivers of her magical ice mirror, then carries him off to her ice palace at the North Pole, promising him power and domination over men. Gerda sets out barefoot, armed with nothing but her loyalty and integrity to rescue him. Along the way, she encounters many dangers but ultimately has the courage, love, fortitude and resilience to save her friend.
Gerda is the real heroine in the Snow Queen, she’s the smart, brave girl who saves the day. The struggle between good and evil is resolved because a pantomime is all about the happy ending, although apparently Andersen was inspired to model the icy-hearted Snow Queen on Jenny Lind after she rejected him as a suitor.
In the modern workplace resourcefulness and resilience are great attributes in team members. We all have to do more with less so cheerful, willing colleagues who can turn their hand to a range of tasks, learn new skills and shoulder responsibility, as and when needed, are useful to have about.
Communication as a two-way process
Pantoland is a riot of colour and fantasy but in the real world, we need to be adaptable and versatile in a volatile marketplace. Encouraging employees to engage with organisational values and objectives empowers them to develop creative solutions and proactively tackle challenges and setbacks.
Many leaders have the talent and ability to develop a vision, however, in the general kerfuffle of getting stuff done, they often don’t communicate that vision to the wider organisation. Taking time to reflect on the communication process to ensure objectives have been properly understood is crucial.
Step back and check that the leadership messages are landing in a way that helps team members understand what they are supposed to be doing to drive the business. It’s difﬁcult to lead people if they don’t have a clear idea of where they’re heading and what’s expected of them. Gerda had to find her own way but most people respond to guidance and feedback.
10Eighty recommend using the Connected Conversation technique to understand the employee perspective, this enables managers to enhance operational flexibility. The real magic of management lies in empowering good people to fulfil their potential.
We believe that agility in a business context relies on a culture that encourages continuous learning as this facilitates innovative problem-solving and rapid responses to a constantly changing environment. The way we work now is reliant on networking and is much more organic and self-organising. Great leaders develop people who are confident in their ability to move forward and take whatever steps are needed to find what works.
The moral of the story is
The Snow Queen stars a determined child triumphing over evil, and while Gerda has help along the way from a robber, a reindeer, and some crows the story shows that love and hope will win the day. Magic takes many forms but we know that self-belief or self-confidence is invaluable for achieving great things.