“The most powerful leadership tool you have is your own personal example.” -John Wooden, American basketball player
A cursory glance at the title most likely evokes a thought in you as to what on earth motorcycling has to do with honing leadership skills, what’s the correlation between the two at all.
Well, there’s more to it than meets the eyes. The two share a great deal of commonality. We’ve gathered 6 of the practical skills leaders can pick up from motorcycling. Let’s unravel them one after another.
1. Keeping eyes on what’s ahead
While riding a motorcycle, you always keep your head steady and directed forward. Except when you’re backing up or taking a turn in which case you need to turn your head back and sideways, majority of the time riders spend on road they keep their eyes on what’s in front of them. You’ve total focus or attention on everything ahead including onrushing traffic.
This is something aspiring leaders can definitely learn from. A razor-sharp focus on what’s ahead and elimination of all forms of distraction and potential setbacks is extremely necessary to propel oneself towards achieving set goals. In doing so, you also learn to prepare for unexpected surprises en route.
2. Awareness of what’s happening around
Closely related to point number one is this that motorcycle riding also teaches us to always keep our ears and eyes open. In other words, it instills in us the habit of becoming fully aware of everybody and everything in our surroundings. This assumes significance considering the fact that things are unpredictable on the street. A vehicle may jump out of nowhere and hit you, or you may run into a jaywalker.
This is again a good lesson for leaders in the making that while there’s nothing wrong in keeping focus on end goals, they can’t remain detached to for instance their business rivals and market competition. In both bike riding and leadership situations, things can take an unexpected turn if adequate attention is not given.
3. Risk minimization techniques
With the increase in the number of vehicles plying on roads these days, there’s also a commensurate rise in the number of unwanted incidents. A seasoned motorcyclist is generally aware of every possible risk on road and is knowledgeable about how to effectively minimize them.
Likewise, sooner or later leaders feel the need to take control of things and neutralize any liability through timely management of risks and course correction. So in terms of overall safety and risk mitigation, motorcycle riding has something to teach.
4. Staying clear of obstructed views
It can be a nightmarish experience for a motorcyclist to be in the blind spot of another vehicle rider. So usually what good bikers do is steer clear of situations where someone else’s view is obstructed, thus avoiding oneself from putting in a vulnerable position.
In the similar vein, business leaders are supposed to play it safe when it comes to volatile market conditions and future possibilities. Just like motorcyclists develop awareness and skills with time regarding how to ride vis-à- vis fellow riders on the road, leaders can acquire knowledge of different strategies for safety and successful outcome.
5. Raising the visibility quotient
When motorcycle riders keep themselves out of harm’s way by remaining away from the blind spot of other riders, it inversely means that you as a biker heighten your visibility to other vehicles. For instance, night-time visibility is critical to safe driving. Thus, the use of protective gears with adequate reflectors.
These are transferrable skills that leaders can exploit to create and maintain the online as well as offline visibility of their brand. This is so because visibility through intensive marketing and promotion brings awareness of a product and/or service.
6. Keeping all the components intact
A smooth and trouble-free motorcycle ride is the handiwork of harmonious and well-operating components. Timely servicing and maintenance work of all constituent parts keep motorcycles in order and roadworthy. It keeps all forms of hassles and worries at bay.
The key takeaway from this for a leader is that they can religiously work towards regulating business functions such as HR, IT and admin for better coordination and rewarding performance. Only a systematic business setup that carries out individual roles and responsibilities in a desirable fashion can deliver customer satisfaction and ultimately business success.
Hopefully, there are many other skills that go into crafting a successful leader that one can learn from motorcycling, but these are the major ones. The bottom line is that the making of a leader is not restricted to one’s degrees or classroom learning. It’s what you do outside the four walls that matters more. Interestingly, one can sharpen some of those skills through one of the most unlikely activities – motorcycle riding.