Check out the Complete Guide to Conflict Resolution Tips For Cheerleading Squads! What should you do when your team goes from yelling on the sidelines to yelling at each other? As the cheerleading season gets into full swing, has your team encountered any conflicts? As captain or coach of your cheerleading squad, it is your responsibility to know what is going on between team members, and to manage any conflicts that involve parents. A cheerleading team that has solid relationships is going to have solid performances. A team that has shaky relationships is going to have shaky performances. Conflict is ultimately inevitable, but completely manageable. Keep your team attitude healthy with these tips: Get ahead of the game. Use organization and initiative to prevent confusion among the squad and their parents. After try outs, hold a mandatory meeting with the squad and their parents where the coach and captain can give some background on their experience and training philosophy. If they understand and relate to the coach and captain, they will be less likely to jump to conclusions about them. Also take the opportunity at the meeting to clearly explain expectations, disciplinary actions, and the year’s schedule of events. Hand out a form with the squad rules for each team member and parent to sign. Communication is key to reconciliation. A cheerleading squad’s coach and captain should always lead by example. Keeping the lines of communication open will make it easier to recognize and manage conflict. When the season starts, the team should be told how the coach and captain expect conflicts to be handled. It should also be made clear to parents when and how they may contact the coach if they need to discuss anything. Who’s the boss? What is the difference between the captain handling a conflict, and the coach handling a conflict? A good rule to follow is to let the captain handle small conflicts between teammates, and to get the coach involved when the conflict is with a parent or if sensitive issues are involved. Approach with optimism. As frustrating as conflict can be, a good leader knows that approaching a resolution with a negative attitude isn’t going to accomplish much. The coach or captain should concentrate on solving the conflict, and should only get as much information as they need to do so. Personal and past issues between team members must be put aside and everyone should remember to focus on solving the problem so that the goals of the team can be met. Mediation vs. legislation. A good leader needs to decide when to be hands on and when to be hands off. When managing a conflict, remember to be open-minded so that you can try to let the conflict solve itself naturally. By managing a conflict resolution meeting, you can get a genuine solution that will prevent the same problem from happening again. If you push for, demand or declare a certain outcome without addressing any issues, it is likely that you’ll have the same problem later down the road. Learn when to mediate vs. when to legislate. Let’s NOT give ’em something to talk about. The only people that should be involved in the conflict resolution are the people that are directly involved in the conflict. If the coach and captain are talking about the conflict and the people involved to other team members, they will set an example that gossiping is tolerated. If you find that your team continues to have conflicts, try revisiting some respect and trust building exercises to reinforce the feeling of team.