One thing successful cheerleading squads have in common is that they have strong leaders. These cheerleaders are role models for their teammates and set the tone for the way athletes on their team act for years to come. Good leaders don’t have to be the stars of their teams, but they practice these five habits: They know their teammates. You might have heard people talk about different people’s coaching or leadership styles. Strong leaders don’t have just one way of motivating people. They shift their methods depending on whom they are working with. A good team captain will know her teammates well enough to know how to reach them effectively. She knows that one teammate thrives under pressure and will pump her up by talking about how big of a competition this is or how many people are in the stands to watch this halftime performance. Another teammate might get too nervous from big crowds, so a good leader would remind her that no matter who’s watching, the routine is the same one you’ve been working on for weeks or months now. You have to know your teammates well to be able to lead them. They welcome input. Approachability is key for strong leaders. Team members should be comfortable coming to them with any questions, concerns, or ideas. The leader doesn’t make them feel inferior or silly for asking questions and genuinely listens to their ideas and gives thoughtful feedback even if the idea isn’t implemented. An environment like this is key for a successful team. They give their all, all the time. Good leaders are well-rounded. They give their all to the cheer squad, but they’re also good students. That’s because they are high achievers who can’t just turn it off. They do their best no matter what they’re working on. You’ll never find a strong leader looking for shortcuts or doing anything half-heartedly. They have fun. No one wants to follow someone who isn’t passionate about what she does. Good leaders work hard, but they enjoy it. They help foster a positive environment where their teammates can excel. They welcome challenges. No matter what comes their way, good leaders are up for the task. They see a problem as something to work through, not something that will stop them. Because of this, when other athletes are hanging their heads in defeat, leaders are brainstorming ways to overcome the challenge. They might not have the solution right away, but the point is that their first instinct is to put up a fight, not give up. What other habits do strong leaders practice?