Leaders are Cheerleaders
Success is about freedom to serve others.
Cheerleaders encourage people to succeed.
All of life’s great battles are within.
Among others, my battles include, selfishness, the need for the spotlight, and the need to control things. Put succinctly, I “prefer” that others don’t outshine me. When I lose those battles, I’m an insignificant leader with a title but little positive influence.
Resentment of other people’s success prevents leaders from becoming cheerleaders.
Cheerleaders smile when others succeed.
Leaders are cheerleaders
The stereotypical cheerleader is cute and dumb. (Cheerleaders, please forgive me!)
Influential leaders are smart cheerleaders. Better to stop making inane suggestions that slightly tweak another’s work, behavior, or words and start giving out atah boy’s, great job’s, and you are da bomb’s to others, especially those who outshine you.
Leader’s reach higher by helping others reach higher.
Be a cheerleader to 10 people today.
Shine the light on something you see in another that outshines what you see in you. Note: don’t mention yourself while doing it. For example, don’t say you are so much better at listening than I am. Do say, I really admire your ability to _______ (fill in the blank).
Here is a list of potential candidates: spouse, son or daughter, boss, co-worker, a service provider, client, parent, employee, public servant, checkout clerk, or …
This is the first post I ever posted on Leadership Freak, with a few modifications.
How do you lift others?
Is there a danger of too much cheer leading?
It’s a funny coincidence that I just read this after an Open House I hosted today here at work for my boss. He is retiring at the end of the year.
Not only is my boss a fabulous person, he is also an amazing leader and manager of the people that work for him. He has many great qualities, and I have learned so much from him.
However, I think one of his strongest management skills is finding what his employees excel at and than encouraging them in that area. He is always praising and giving positive comments. Now, don’t get me wrong if you screw up, a conversation will be had behind closed doors. He is not one to embarass his employees. But he is, without a doubt, a “cheerleader” of those who work for him.
For me, he is always complimenting how bright he thinks I am, how well I do my job, how well I work with others. What is funny is that he is a hundred times more knowledgeable than I am. He is the hardest worker and usually the most prepared and smartest person in the room and he is always, always so pleasant.
But its never about him, it’s always about how he can make you shine. I agree. I am seen it with my own eyes. An important characteristic of a leader is teaching and encouraging and than allowing those who work or report to you excel.
Great story Erin. Makes me want to know your soon-to-be retired boss.
“Great people are those who make others feel that they, too, can become great.” Mark Twain
Love the quote Jenny. Thanks
Excellent advice. I am reminded of a weekend awareness/sensitivity training in 1970…er… YOU reminded me of the training! One of the exercises was to sit on the floor facing a partner and alternate saying “you love me”. This is a digression from your theme, but it was a powerful exercise and that’s what came to mind. More to the point, “be lavish in your praise and hearty in your approbation” is time proven. To wit, and honestly and sincerely, your effort here to help us shine is a very good thing. Thanks!
Listening is difficult. Your description of our minds formulating responses while the other is speaking certainly happens with me. An exercise to enhance communication is ‘reflective listening’, where the listener repeats the speakers message. ‘You said we don’t really listen well because we are busy thinking of our own response’.
Good luck with this noble enlightening endeavor. I will be following with interest.
Thanks Rick, I look forward to your feedback.
What makes this post so powerful is your own self-disclosure. Over the years I’ve learned that self-awareness is the first step to making any change. If I don’t recognize I need to improve or change, I’ll be stuck in denial. And I like your take on giving compliments and praise. We’re on the same page!
Thank you for stopping by and leaving an encouraging word. You practice what you preach.
I UNEQUIVICALLY agree that cheerleading in this sense is an unlimited fountain of inspiration, innovation, friendship and growth.
My only caution is that one must be first and foremost a cheerleader for the customer. Cheerleading when it relates to delivering for the customer (external/internal) makes the biggest difference. And if one is busy cheering within, it’s especially important to ‘grow bigger ears’ externally (thanks @ChrisBrogan for the bigger ears).
Thanks for expanding this conversation to include customers. Nicely said.
“The stereotypical cheerleader is cute and dumb.” Ouch, those are some harsh words, also completely unnecessary to the post. Didn’t your mother ever tell you if you don’t have anything nice to say it’s best to find other ways to hit your word count? I will cut some slack as this was written ten years ago and, at least as far as I can see in May 2020 seems to be your first post. I’ve been reading and commenting on more recent ones, but I just had to dig deeper to find the origins and evolution of the site.
All kidding about the hurtfulness of cheerleader stereotypes aside, I completely agree that it is key to let people know what they’re doing well in order to encourage them to keep at it. I was in fact inspired by your words, so I called my husband into my office to give him a compliment. Unfortunately, I didn’t take the time to think through the compliment I intended to give him before calling him. His clear confusion and suspicion at being called to my office while I was working was very cute and further distracted me from thinking of something nice to say, so instead I asked him to come closer intending to give him a kiss while I thought of something nice to say. This only increased his suspicion and I was forced to explain the situation and apologize for not being able to come up with a compliment on the fly.
I think this exercise has illustrated that I am the worst wife. Beyond that it’s forced me to wonder what I would have said if I was trying to come on with an on-the-fly compliment for one of my employees instead of my husband. Would I have been any better at it? Tomorrow being Monday I think it’s a perfect time to try and see.
My mother was my biggest cheerleader. When others who we trust and value—believe in us–our self-confidence and self-esteem increases.
As Ken Blanchard said, “Catch people doing something right.” Look for the good stuff they are doing.
Too much cheerleading—a strength can become a weakness. Don’t overdue it.
Thanks Paul. The way we feel about ourselves is impacted by others. This is leadership’s opportunity. It also is a powerful reminder to choose the people we surround ourselves with carefully.
Herein the UK, we don’t have cheerleaders. We tend to believe all the stereotypes and regard the whole idea of it as somewhere between embarrassing and downright creepy. We also have developed a habit of seeing through praise and cheering. During the worst parts of the Covid pandemic, we were all encouraged to go outside on a Thursday evening and take part in a national round of applause in support of health workers- “Clap of Carers” as it was called. But there was nothing backing the applause, and it’s now regarded with strong cynicism.
Thanks Mitch. Insincere or manipulative praise/acknowledgement/cheering is worse than simply keeping your mouth shut. I’ll speak for myself, a word of encouragement is a source of joy to me. Perhaps it’s shallow.
Being from New England, I think I understand what you’re saying. I despise fluffy insincere talk and find it difficult to respect people who engage in it. However, if there is a way to encourage – increase someone’s energy – I want to do it.