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Aug18
Trust and Teamwork in Leadership

I found myself at the back of a pack of cyclists the other day. I had not ridden in several months and joined a friend and his group of riders in an effort to get from behind the din of a computer monitor to enjoy the sunshine and beach scenes that are so nearby. I certainly got what I asked for and also received a healthy dose of burning legs, oxygen depletion and a sore butt.

The group headed from Irvine, CA to Laguna Beach on Laguna Beach Canyon Rd. I was the least fit and subsequently rode at the back, glad for the draft from the other riders. To take full advantage of the aerodynamic benefit of following the group, I followed within a few inches of my friend’s back wheel.

At points on this road, the shoulder where we could ride became narrow. We snaked between the vehicle traffic that was backing up and the gravel and dirt of the shoulder (not our ride in photo).

This part of the ride required concentration. It was necessary to be aware of the groups speed and direction every instant. This situation caused me tocycling.jpg consider the importance of trust in any group. I thought about the trust that every rider in this group had for the rider in front of them. I had not ridden with this group enough to know their individual styles, habits and capabilities as cyclists. But we set out together with a unified goal and clearly defined course. Each rider’s expectation was that we would all follow this objective and that the group would move ahead as one. This commitment required each of is to not only ride for oneself but for the guy behind.

It was a nice reminder of some important principles of leadership:

  • Communicate a clearly stated goal or objective
  • Draw commitment to that goal or objective
  • Exercise trust in teammates
  • Create unity in purpose and commitment to teammateslaguna.jpg

I doubt any of the other riders were thinking about these principles as they applied to leadership. They were all experienced riders and these traits and characteristics came natural to them after hundreds of group rides. That is the point we would all like to reach in our organizations. Namely, that all or most of the team has learned these principles and naturally follows them. It only will happen through routine practice and if it is part of the culture. You can establish this culture as the leader.

Photo credit Laguna - Matthew Morton and Cycling - Joe Cashin.


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