A few years ago I was able to help my 4 year-old granddaughter learn to ride a bicycle. By the end of the summer she was really confident, and could ride all over her neighborhood. After having all winter off from bike riding, however, the next spring came and Madison was scared to try the bike for fear that she would fall. It took some encouraging but within an hour she was up and riding again with ease.
Like Madison, I learned to ride a bike around 3 or 4 and enjoyed riding with friends around the area I grew up in. At age 18 I took bicycle riding to a new level when I joined a riding group and rode my bicycle from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean, starting in California and ending in South Carolina. Yep, that is a long way to peddle, about 3500 miles. Through this adventure I saw much of the United States at a pretty slow pace, and I learned a lot about myself and team work.
When riding long distances there are days you physically don’t know if you will make it to the end of that day’s ride. At those times you learn to lean on your teammates. On our cross-country trip we rode in packs of 6 riders. Everyday someone different on the team would be having a hard day and the rest of the group would be there to help. One of the main ways to help each other was to let tired team members “draft” (ride in the wind suction created by others) to rebuild their energy. At the end of the day our whole group had to reach the days destination.
Isn’t this like leadership?
- We knew, when riding across the US, that we wouldn’t be able to accomplish our goal alone, but would need others to journey with us. As the tasks before us grow and expand a good leader adds key people to his team, knowing that we can accomplish more with others than we can alone.
- A good leader learns along the way. Like my granddaughter Madison, who had me to teach her to ride a bike, you need to learn from someone who has walked through what you are doing. Seek wise counsel and understand that there is always more to learn.
- A good leader is always looking out for his team! Encouraging them in their gifts and challenging them to grow as well.
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