Cheerleading: Putting On Your Game Face

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to energize your team. Reading time: 2:58.

       Charles Schwab, rising from the shop floor to become the first president of America’s largest steel manufacturer at 35 hoarsed around.  And he laughed all the way to the bank with his enthusiastic workers.

      He didn’t mind losing his voice, cheering for his workers. Neither did company owner Andrew Carnegie, a mega leader in the industrializing of America at the turn of the 20th century.

       Schwab’s loss was the company’s gain. The more he lost his voice cheering the more success he had in smoothing over ruffled feathers and getting everybody back to work more quickly during strikes .

     Charles Schwab saw himself as a cheerleader first– and then as a leader. “I consider my ability to arouse enthusiasm among the people as the greatest asset I possess,” said Schwab.

           With his  cheerleading — through appreciation and encouragement–he spearheaded the most effective leadership skill: energizing his employees to perform at their best. Energizing is Job #1 for all leaders, according to Noel Tichy, the University of Michigan professor.  In his book The Leadership Engine,  Tichy states emphatically: “Simply put, a leader’s job is to energize others. Notice that I don’t say it’s part of their job. It is their job.”

      Energizing leaders —cheerleaders— bring out the best in their workers. No matter how hoarse they get from cheering others on.

      Dwight David Eisenhower hoarsed around on a football field. Yes THAT  Eisenhower who would one day reside at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. He served as a football cheerleader (yes, you read that correctly– a Rah! Rah! Cheerleader) at West Point after he was injured as a player in a football game.

    Then later General Dwight David Eisenhower also hoarsed around on the battle field. Yes THAT same Eisenhower who would lead the Allies into victory in World War II and go on to become the leader of the free world as president of the United States.  Four months before the allied invasion of Europe during World War II, Eisenhower —the cheerleader— visited 26 divisions, 24 air fields and 5 warships to cheer the troops on to victory with his sincere appreciation for their willingness to pay the ultimate price for freedom.

Leaders Hoarse Around

       Eisenhower proved an energizing leader. An energizing leader –like a cheerleader — he has the ability to “seduce” others into “sharing his dream” of success, as author Warren Benis writes about leaders in his book Organzing Genius. Maybe that’s why the most effective leaders I know are first –and foremost–  cheerleaders.  

       After all “leaders activate the energy of followers,  notes Dick Edwards in his book Artful Work. Edwards points out that leading artists activate the energy in paint; leading poets activate the energy in words, and leading scientists activate the energy in experimentation. Energy that can neither be created or destroyed. Only converted. By a leader.

         So go ahead.   Put on your Game Face with a passionate voice of exhortation,  exhilaration and exclamation.  And hoarse around. Cheers!

Today’s ImproveMINT

Hoarse Around to keep your leadership thinking in mint condition.

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