“Who is cheering you on?”
I think that this is a very important questions for leaders to ask of themselves. One of the unhelpful traits of leaders is that we often try to go it alone. We think that to be a good leader we have to show the strength to stand alone and persevere on our own. Unfortunately, it does not take long for this fallacy to crumble. When the crumbling takes place, it can be very devastating to the leader and often to the organization that the leader is attempting to lead.
One of the truths about leadership is that there are going to be individuals that stand in opposition to where and how you are leading. There are many reasons for the opposition which I will not detail in this post but let’s just agree that opposition is going to come at some point during your leadership. Sometimes this opposition manifests itself in personal attacks against the leaders. These can create very difficult times for leaders. There is pain involved. There is a desire to lash back at the ones causing the pain. There is self-doubt and questioning that takes place. There is frustration and a desire to give up. Many leaders attempt to hide these feelings and thoughts from others because they are afraid that it will weaken their leadership or it will misdirect the organization. So the suffering occurs in silence.
This is one of the chief reasons that I think all leaders need cheerleaders. Have you ever been at a sporting event where there are no cheerleaders, no pep band? While the game goes on and victory may still occur, there seems to be less energy and more difficulty turning the direction of momentum if the game is going against the team. Having cheerleaders at that game does not guarantee victory but in many cases it helps. I apply this to situations in leadership. If a leader has a cheerleader(s), it makes those difficult times a bit more bearable. There are people who are providing encouragement and support. There are people who can help change the momentum of the movement toward the direction in which you are leading.
Personally, I have experienced the great value of having cheerleaders. While as a I believer, I always know that the Lord is present and cheering me on, there is added value in having other people doing the cheering as well. In fact, I think that one of the significant ways the Lord provides the support and encouragement is through the people who the Lord places in my life. I can truly say that when one of my cheerleaders is absent or I have not spent time with them over an extending period of time, I find myself having more difficult staying energized in my leadership. I can also say that just one visit, one phone call, one message from one of my cheerleaders can change the whole direction of my day, and sometimes even my week or month.
So to all the leaders….. get yourself some cheerleaders; to all the cheerleaders….. thank you for the very important work you do!