In 1977’s animated feature, Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown, the titular ne’er-do-well goes to summer camp looking to enhance his leadership skills. Ever the cold voice of reason, Peppermint Patty informs Charlie Brown that he “couldn’t lead a dog on a leash.”
In fact, the lovable loser is often a highly effective leader, and many others in the Peanuts gang have lessons to offer security professionals as well.
Chuck, as Patty calls him, may not win much, but his friends dutifully follow him onto the baseball diamond, even when it’s almost inevitable that they’ll be slaughtered. Even the petulant Lucy and grandstanding Snoopy look to Charlie Brown’s leadership on the pitcher’s mound.
Though he can be gloomy and pensive, Charlie Brown is the eternal optimist. Every day is a new opportunity to kick the football that Lucy will probably whisk away at the last moment.
Plus, he is unfailingly kind to everyone.
Key Leadership Traits of Charlie Brown: Kindness, optimism and perseverance
If Charlie Brown represents the leadership’s heart, Linus is an intriguing combination of brains and faith. He is prone to rhapsodizing and waxing philosophical, yet he is probably the best listener in the gang. The other characters admire his intelligence and perceptiveness. But, he’s perhaps more personally magnetic because of his faith. He’s the only child who can articulate what Christmas is truly about. He steadfastly believes in the Great Pumpkin despite enormous peer pressure.
Finally, of all the Peanuts characters, Linus “gets” security best. Reliant on his blanket for comfort, he understands the value of totems and rituals that make us feel safe. For some people, it’s a photograph of loved ones, a piece of jewelry, or a memory. For Linus, it’s a blanket.
Key Leadership Traits of Linus: Listening skills, intelligence, faith and compassion
Beyond her bluster and bossiness, Lucy is the prototypical “girlboss.” In a society that relegates females to second-class roles, Lucy shatters the glass comic-strip panel. An entrepreneur, she sets up her own plyboard psychiatric office.
Ilana Levine, one of the actresses who portrayed Lucy on Broadway, described her this way: “Lucy was the first feminist character that I knew of. She wasn’t afraid to be a leader. I mean, she’s tremendously interested in what she looks like, but she’s also tremendously interested in being powerful in the world.”
Key Leadership Traits of Lucy: Confidence, curiosity and bias for action
Snoopy may seem like a loner living in a dreamworld atop his “Sopwith Camel,” but he dutifully leads Woodstock and his friends on camping excursions. Also, though his imagination runs wild, Snoopy is not untethered from reality. His active imagination makes him a creative problem solver — he somehow engineered a sprawling living space, including a gym, a pool table, a shower and a science lab inside his tiny doghouse.
Key Leadership Traits of Snoopy: Imagination, creativity and duty
Known for his devotion to his piano and Beethoven, Schroeder is a child of principle. He reveres concepts bigger than himself — principally, the music of Beethoven. He also exemplifies the element of “followership” in leadership. His respect and show of friendship for Charlie Brown, especially on the baseball diamond, encourage others to accept Charlie Brown as a leader well.
Key Leadership Traits of Schroeder: Servant leadership, focus and passion
As Peppermint Patty said, Charlie Brown probably couldn’t lead a dog on a leash. That just makes him a better leader. What kind of leader would you be if you put a creative powerhouse like Snoopy on a metaphorical leash?