A new docuseries on Netflix has exploded in popularity over the past few weeks and turned a group of community college cheerleaders into overnight celebrities. Cheer is a six-part series that follows the award-winning Navarro College Cheer Team as they prepare to defend their title in the National Championship competition in Daytona, Florida. Throughout the series, a handful of athletes become the focal point of the series, but no one captures viewers’ hearts quite like Jerry Harris.
Jerry isn’t the most talented cheerleader. He isn’t the strongest or most athletic. He doesn’t fit the stereotypical image that most people have for a competitive cheerleader. In fact, given that only 20 of the 40 Navarro cheerleaders would be able to complete at Nationals, Jerry wasn’t even guaranteed to a place on the mat. With other multi-talented team members capable of filling both base and tumbler roles, Jerry was often hopeful to serve as an alternate team member. The difference between Jerry and any other alternate on the team is he did everything with the heart and enthusiasm of a thousand cheerleaders combined.
Jerry stood on the side lines and cheered louder than anyone on the team. He was always the first to congratulate a team member for hitting their stunt, and the first one to console the athletes that struggled. He took the frustrated team members aside and pep talked them until they were convinced they were invincible. His enthusiasm and positivity were infectious, not just for the athletes but for Cheer viewers as well.
Every team needs a Jerry (click to see Jerry at work).
- A Jerry is someone who lifts others up when they’re down and reminds them how to recognize (and leverage) their strengths.
- A Jerry is just as excited for a team member’s accomplishments as he is his own. While the Jerry of the team may never be the top performer, he will make everyone work harder, feel better, and feel more connected because of the positivity he brings to the team.
- A Jerry is incapable of being selfish because he lives for the team.
Never underestimate the power of a Jerry.
The team members who live the organization’s values can be just as powerful as the ones that outperform others on paper. Their contributions may not always be quantifiable, but they’re also impossible to ignore. However, the Jerry’s of the organization are always at risk for being overlooked. They’re low maintenance and rarely demand special assignments or praise from leaders. They’ll put on a smiling face and find the silver lining in even the most challenging situations. But every Jerry has a limit.
Look around your organization and recognize who’s bringing Jerry-level enthusiasm to the organization. Recognize that person for their role as the heart and soul of the team. Don’t wait until the team member leaves to realize they were the glue that held everyone together.