I knew I could do the job. It would be a challenge but I knew I could do it, but I also knew that someone else could do it better.
My superiors thought so too, it seems. I didn’t get the job.
And it wasn’t because I couldn’t do it. I could. It was because someone could come into that job and take it to the next level, and I would just be doing it at status quo–at least for a little while.
I was disappointed, sure. But once I saw what the person who got the job did for my team at work, I knew that they made the right choice even though it hurt at the time.
And we each have team members like that on our squad’s, right? There are the girls who love to fly, and they’re not bad. It’s just that what the team needs is for them to base.
It’s hard to convince them of that, and it doesn’t often go well, especially at first. However, I think it’s important to keep the whole team in mind when making stunt groups, and maybe even disappoint some girls who should be doing something else.
And that’s hard … WAY HARD. But here are my top tips for doing just that, and maybe making a teachable moment out of it.
Change roles early and often
In the beginning of the season, the team members will instinctively go for what they want to do. Even if they’ve based for three years, some of them still want to fly so they say they’re a flyer.
And some of them want to be on the ground forever.
Either way, it’s possible they should be doing something else. So early on, keep them guessing. Don’t settle into groups too quickly. Have everyone try new positions and different groups. Keep your eyes out for those who are naturals in each one–especially when it’s unexpected–and take note.
Compliment new roles
When you see those unexpected success moments, call it out. Say it loud and proud. It could be that the flyer who was always being corrected fits great as a base and would love to stay there if she felt she was good at it.
And always compliment everyone’s adaptability. That’s part of encouraging what you want to see in your team. Give that positive attention, and they’re likely to continue to emulate that to please you.
Talk to them one on one
Here’s the tricky part. When someone gets assigned somewhere else, they might feel like it’s a consolation prize.
Unfortunately, you can’t control how they perceive it, but you can attempt to frame the situation as positively as possible.
You do that by focusing on their strengths and their part as a team. When you take it from this angle, you’re showing them that they are a vital part of helping the team achieve their goals and that even though their contribution looks different this year, it’s still a contribution.
I would also help them see their future. Maybe as they work their way up the ranks in cheerleading–from junior high to JV to varsity–they change a lot, and the team they end up with in one place will be different from next year. Show them that you’re thinking about their long-term view.
If you see that all of the tiny girls will make varsity next year, and they’ll be short some bases, then giving that girl the opportunity to forge her place as a base is kind and helpful and not robbing her of her favorite place in a group.
Then don’t forget to encourage like crazy in their new roles. They need to feel that positive reinforcement.
These conversations aren’t easy. I’ve had plenty of them to know that most of the time, they don’t go perfectly and lots of times they don’t even go well. (Expect a parent phone call from some.)
But hopefully these tips can make the transition a little smoother.