What The Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders Taught Me About Leadership

Sometimes a lazy Sunday afternoon rolls around you find yourself stumbling on the latest CMT reality TV show, The Making of a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader.  As a sports girl, this isn’t a show I would naturally gravitate towards, but after a few minutes I was intrigued by both the character and competence that went into their decision of who makes the team.  Here are just a few of the leadership traits I took away! 

5 Leadership Tips from The Making of a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader:

1.  How Will They Be as Teammates.  

During one episode the coaches were having a hard time making a cut on the team, so, they decided to bring in the team captains, asking them, “Who do you want as your teammate?”  Their insight and wisdom into the decision gave the coaches not only a different perspective but one that helped them make an even better decision for the sake of the team. 

Tip: When you are in the hiring process give the opportunity for the teammates of the potential hire to weigh in on the decision.  More than likely they will have a better sense of who is right for the position AND if they are actually excited about working next to them! 

2.   Tangible Feedback on How to Improve.

Frequently, the coaches would feedback to the candidates specific areas where they needed to improve.  It was tangible feedback that gave them the opportunity to grow and change so they weren’t just blindly cut.

Tip: When you notice areas of improvement for your leaders don’t wait to tell them, but instead give them instant constructive feedback, that they can use to better themselves and the team. 

3.  Consistency, Consistency, Consistency. 

Everyday the coaches are evaluating the performance of these potential cheerleaders and one of the main traits they are looking for is consistency. They want to know if they are a cheerleader that they can rely on week in and week out providing them the same level of performance each time.  A critical trait with any leader.  

Tip: Identify what need to be your consistent traits and tasks with your leaders. Lay out those expectations and then discern who is able to “perform” consistently within those guidelines. 

4.  Continual Pursuit Towards Excellence.

When I first think of the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders, excellence isn’t what comes to mind, but when you watch the work that goes into each performance and the selection of the team that’s exactly what you see. The coaches critique every cheerleader, team, dance, and everything in between.  Nothing gets missed in this pursuit of excellence. 

Tip: Excellence is found in the little things. It’s what you do “on the field”, “off the field” that contributes to this overall pursuit of achieving the maximize level of success. Take time to notice how you and your team are mastering the little things in your own pursuit of excellence. 

5.  The Full Rounded CheerLEADER. 

Originally what hooked me into the show was the segment where they were having to do “mock TV interviews”, answering questions on real world events, and giving their opinion on everyday politics and news. This allowed the coaches to decide if these cheerleaders had the character, competence and composure that went beyond their dancing expertise.

Tip: In the hiring process especially, make sure you take the time to see if your potential hire is a FULL rounded individual matching every value and skill you are looking for. I see this as one of the most common mistakes is hiring, as we all know the resume doesn’t always tell the whole story. 

BONUS TIP #6:  Emotion! 

Every episode I watched there were tears, and sometimes lots of tears.  At first it seemed a little excessive but then as I watched how much physical, mental and emotional effort went into making the team, I was reminded how these tears showed heart, passion, and work ethic.  Emotion is often a positive trait showing you the deeper motive of the leader. 

Tip: Look and inspire emotion in your team.  Find those leaders who breed positivity, passion and praise and give them a chance to release it! 

Honestly, there were many other takeaways I could add but I must say I rolled off the couch that Sunday evening 😉 with encouragement and challenge to keep raising the leadership bar higher and higher!

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