When my son wanted to see Jacksepticeye, a famous YouTuber, who was in town for a show I did not know what to expect. I knew he was funny and he had a YouTube channel where he played games daily. That was it.
So, when the opportunity presented itself to see him live, I got excited. I thought I’d learn a thing or two about new generation humor, get some basic gaming language down and save some face as the parent of a pre-teen.
Never in a million years was I prepared for a profound lesson in leadership instead!
Jacksepticeye, a 28-year old Irishman, stood on stage for 2 hours and demonstrated how it is possible to inspire people to follow you just because they want to.
Let me explain the one thing that amazed me more than anything else and then we can dig deeper into the attributes.
He got a theatre full of young people (and some unsuspecting older folk) to chant P.M.A., P.M.A. when his story got tough, or a fellow gamer struggled with a game on stage. It was fascinating. They were all leaning in, waving fists and shouting at the top of their lungs. P.M.A - P.M.A!
Given the lack of trust parents seem to have in any young YouTuber, I got concerned for a moment that this was an open invite to cruelty. Being the responsible adult that I am, I wanted to figure out what it meant before I frantically either joined in or scolded my child.
It had to be something inappropriate or just silly. Instead, it turned out that P.M.A meant nothing other than, brace yourselves: Positive Mental Attitude!
Well, I don’t know how familiar you are with anyone between the age of 10-19, but they are not known to volunteer positive mental attitude about anything unless they are bribed into it! However, here, hundreds of them were cheering for positive mental attitude in the face of adversity!
Tell me, how much is your budget for enhancing corporate culture? How many training classes would it take for your leaders to inspire employees to champion each other in times of difficulty? And tell me once more, why are we afraid of the youth again?
Somehow, they all united for support and Jacksepticeye did not ask for it. They offered it up!
How did he do it?
Here is my translation of what I saw into leadership lingo:
With scars and stars, he was himself. Did not hide, did not pretend. He was believable, genuine and sincere.
We went along with him in his story. It was vivid, had great flow and was communicated clearly. Good tone, great balance of telling vs. engaging, comfortable delivery.
Everybody sat there for 2 hours without checking electronics! These are supposedly kids with the attention span of a squirrel.
Kids knew what to expect. He used his taglines, delivered favorite jokes and games, was consistent in behavior. Nothing changed just because he was on stage instead of behind a screen. He was dependable.
He shared his hardships, made fun of himself and connected to the everyday struggles of anyone young. He was one of them.
With examples, data and live demonstration he proved his capability. He explained the effort and hard work that went into it, the hardships he went through to show he earned and deserved to be where he was. It was not a free ticket.
His messages were crystal clear. You have to work hard, be smart about opportunities, deliver what you say you will, don’t give up, keep a positive mental attitude.
Also, he had a strong stand: He declared humanity was needed even behind the screens. Even though they were all linked through the internet, they were a community of all races, all backgrounds, all beliefs; people who were straight, gay, bi or anything in between. They all belonged.
The audience was energized, inspired to achieve more, to do more and to connect more. We were all smiling wanting to do our best in whatever we were set out to do. Also, we felt better about fellow humans and the future.
Here are some stats about his channel which may start some further conversations: