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 Continue reading “Cheerleading: Putting On Your Game Face”

Stories Breathe Life Into the Bottom Line

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

         Here’s an idea to capture the imagination of your followers. Reading time: 4:16

     The children’s story teller had just finished a 30-minute performance when a 6-year-old boy excitedly ran up to her; yanked joyously on her hand, and smiled: “Hey, thanks for the movies!”

        The story teller had captured the boy’s imagination.

          The words painted a picture in his mind. The story teller’s engaging tone and exciting inflection tuned her voice into what seemed the surround sound quality of a theater. Only the popcorn seemed to be missing from the boy’s  “movie” experience.

        With that attention-commanding sense of relevancy and influence, it’s no wonder story-telling is a key leadership skill, according to Harvard professor Howard Gardner. Continue reading “Stories Breathe Life Into the Bottom Line”