I attended a try-out day for sports with my sons class today. These kids are in the third grade so they don’t always sit still and listen, or they mostly never do. That’s why the leaders ability to engage the group were tested to the maximum, and I took out my notebook.
We were able to try different sports where local clubs were there to show what the sport was about and try to engage as many kids as possible as new members. The sports we tried were:
- running (50 m sprint)
- table tennis
Some of us have it, some don’t
It became quite apparent that some leaders had the ability to engage 25 third graders and some did not. So I started to look at what differed the leaders from each other and compared the leaders with what the kids thought about the sports. What I found was that well structured, authoritarian leaders had the ability to contain the group of wild kids and make them do the different practices. Weak leaders spent more than half their time trying to gather the group and didn’t have time to finish their practices. Ok, now big news in that.
However, the good leaders didn’t necessarily engage the third graders as new members into their sports. There were only 2 out of 4 good leaders that actually engaged new members directly. I took a look at who they were and found that they had one extra attribute, coolness.
Why a cool leader attracts followers
The parkour and boxing leader were natural cool people that easily could engage both boys and girls among the third graders. The cool leaders didn’t have to struggle with the groups. They didn’t have to say things twice. Everyone in the groups tried their best and loved it, even though they were the most technical and tough sports of them all.
When I realised this I started to think about why cool people can attract new members and how that motivated us. These are the 6 things I thought of:
- We listen to cool people to try to understand why they are cool
- We want to be with cool people because it might rub off on us
- We want to be with cool people because they attract the other gender (more prospective girl/boy friends)
- We want to be with cool people because they attract others from our own gender (more prospective friends)
- We want to do what cool people do because then we look cool
- We all want to be cool because that give us advantages in life
So a tip to all clubs trying to attract new members is to send the coolest representatives, as close to the age of the prospects as possible, in order to attract more members. Team him/her up with an authoritarian, structured leader and you’ll have a killer combination for new member recruitment.