[February 10, 2015] One of the special advantages senior leaders have is cheerleading for their organization. Yes, being a senior leader also means you must be a cheerleader; someone who aggressively promotes their people, organization, and mission at the appropriate times. This is what great leaders do … and those who do not cheerlead should have their loyalty questioned.
Much of an organization’s promotion is done using the available tools: advertising, social media, networking, giving seminars, partnering with other like organizations, etc. Many businesses, especially larger ones, may even have a staff with the task of getting the word out on their mission. Some call this “branding.” Regardless, what we do know is that without senior leaders being major contributors to promoting their organization, much of these tools will not have the desired effect.
“You have to have your heart in the business and the business in your heart.” – Thomas Jefferson
It is true that to have the right motivation, the organization must reside inside the psyche of the leader. As we say in baseball, they must have heart in the game to be a winner. This provides the internal drive to promote the organization. Understanding the vision and mission – and having the ability to articulate it – are important and make promoting the organization possible.
Cheerleading is not restricted to potential customers and this is a critical point often overlooked. Leaders must also be a cheerleader for the most obvious people … those who work in the organization, their families, and those stakeholders who benefit from the organization in some way. This is what helps build a positive reputation that will carry the organization in times of crisis or just when things are not going well.
I once worked on a small military post in the United States. It survived many rounds of Department of Defense cuts, largely the result of the garrison commander being so outspoken to so many people. It survived and is still fulfilling its mission today. A colonel, the garrison commander told me that he considered his primary duty to be “a cheerleader for the post.”
Cheerleading works. Senior leaders have the obligation to be their organization’s cheerleader.
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