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October 18, 2018

My son Andy is a sports reporter and wrote a cover story this week about a high school cheerleading squad for a team that was losing 40-0 at halftime. It was a great article and needless to say, I am very proud of him. However, the article was much more than about a specific team, but covered the ins and outs of cheerleading, and that is what I want to share here.

Even though the team was losing, the cheerleaders were cheery and led. They did not mope – they were not gloomyleaders. They knew they had to ooze energy and lift the crowd. They believed, and they made it reality, that their gold pom-poms, touchdown smiles, and eternal optimism would be transferred into the audience. Cheerleader Paris Harrington said “We still have to be just as peppy as if they were winning 100-0.” Classmate Nicole Ryan echoed “We approach it the same way as if they were winning. We try to keep spirits up.”

It’s not an accident this cheerleading team from Monroe High School is among the best in the country winning numerous state and national championships and awards. They win because they take everything seriously putting in the practice, training, effort and creating electric excitement around whatever they do, always with an “I-mean business-game face.” Irrespective of the awards, the team’s feedback comes from an excited crowd. It also means mixing up the moves and playing to the crowd as well as staying in great shape and depending on teammates to support and catch them when the moves make that necessary. Cheerleading looks effortless but it is very hard and needs to be carefully coached and choreographed; if it looked hard they would not be successful.

Leaders of a business or any group can learn a lot from cheerleaders – they need to be, and must be, the cheerleaders for their team. The worst thing a leader can do is be a gloomyleader. Like these cheerleaders, they must always be “on” and project a winning feeling and aura. Problems should be left to one-on-one meetings behind not so obviously closed doors or through private venting with a spouse or partner. Businesses are not machines but are organic comprised of individuals who work separately or in teams. Each needs to perform at the top of their ability. Doom and gloom leaders, which unfortunately there are plenty of, do not belong in leadership positions. They need to be cheerleaders spurring on their team to do the best they can do – with electric excitement. They need to take a lesson from cheerleaders, and particularly, the Monroe High School team Andy wrote about.

Some of the above came directly from Andy’s article and here is a link if you want to read the original unexpurgated version:

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