My daughter, Annie, taught me a very valuable lesson when she was in high school. She tried out and made the high school cheerleading squad. Of course I was proud of her accomplishment but the lesson for me came when she started cheering. I was not into high school. In fact, I hated it more than anything before or since.
If mainstream denominations are correct and there is a place of eternal punishment and torture – for me it would be high school. I only went to two high school events: the senior prom, (because my girlfriend made me); and graduation, (because my mom made me). So when Annie joined the cheerleading squad the following news was not necessarily good. We would be attending her games to see her cheer. I’d never been to a high school game and wasn’t looking forward to it.
We went to the games and I observed Annie and her cheerleading partners. They would cheer and cheer. Just by watching the cheerleaders, you had no idea of who was winning or losing or how tight the game was. The cheerleaders were doing their best to keep the fans involved and hopeful. If the team won the cheerleaders were excited and led the celebration. If the team lost they were still energetic in consoling the team. They reinforced how good their effort was and how they would fare better next time.
I often observed that if the team played great and had a good game, coming out on the winning side, the crowd would congratulate the team and celebrate with them. If the team didn’t play so great, or played a better team, and they lost – it was the coaches’ fault. It couldn’t be our kids it must have been the coaching.
I never witnessed anyone saying if the team won, “Hey cheerleaders – you were on tonight. You really inspired the team with you motivational cheers. If it weren’t for you cheerleaders we would never have won the game!” Likewise, I never witnessed anyone saying, “Wow, you cheerleaders were really off tonight. Your cheers were lackluster at best. If you would have cheered better we could have won the game.” If the team won, the cheerleaders received no credit or glory. If the team lost, they received no criticism or blame. The cheerleaders were completely invested in the team.
Good leaders have a team mentality. They are completely invested in the success of the team. They recognize there is no real success without the team, and they share that concept with others. Leaders understand that a loss is not failure, but an opportunity to improve. Great leadership means being a cheerleader for the team and being completely invested in the team.
Points to Ponder –
How good of a cheerleader are you to those around you?
Do the people around you know that you are on their side and are rooting for them?
Are your cheers reserved for situations that directly affect you? Are you generous in cheering for others regardless of their involvement with you?
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