This dialogue from Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” as the ghost of Christmas Past presents Scrooge with his memory of a company Christmas party.
“A small matter,” said the Ghost, “to make these silly folks so full of gratitude. “Small!” echoed Scrooge. The Spirit signed him to listen to the two apprentices, who were pouring out their hearts in praise of Fezziwig: and when he had done so, said, “Why! Is it not? He has spent but a few pounds of your mortal money: three or four perhaps. Is that so much that he deserves this praise?” “It isn’t that,” said Scrooge, heated by the remark and speaking unconsciously like his former, not later self. “It isn’t that, Spirit. He has the power to render us happy or unhappy, to make our service light or burdensome; a pleasure or a toil. Say that his power lies in words and looks; in things so slight and insignificant that it is impossible to add and count ’em up: what then? The happiness he gives, is quite as great as if it cost a fortune.”
Fezziwig’s may well have been a 19th century version of one of the “Hundred Best Places to work in the British Empire”.
How did Scrooge forget this lesson? Why did it take a ghost’s visit to remind him how leadership ought to work? Even Dickens possessed a sense of the mighty resistence within us to lead, first and always, with humanity.