For the second week in a row, I am up at the crack of dawn celebrating and supporting leadership. Early last week my fourteen-year-old son, Parker, decided to add cardio exercise to his workout routine. I overheard him asking his friend Nolan, who lives one street over, if he was interested in a bike ride before school in the morning. The next morning, I heard his alarm go off at 5 a.m., but he did not come out of his room. When later that day I asked him what had happened, he said that he had sent a text to Nolan but that Nolan had never replied. I suggested to Parker that Nolan not replying should not be a reason for him not to go and that his friend would go with him next time if he saw him follow through.
The next morning, I again heard his alarm go off at 5 a.m. This time Parker went for it. By himself. Sure enough, the next morning Nolan went along for the ride. As the two rolled up to our house at 6:30 a.m. at the end of their ride, I could hear Parker encouraging Nolan, and I watched as the two high-fived to celebrate their accomplishment.
Every morning this week, I have peeked out the blinds at 5:10 a.m. to see a growing group of boys all ready to hit the railway bed for a morning bike ride. On Monday there were three, on Tuesday four, and this morning six. This morning as they rolled up to the curb at the end of their ride, there were only four boys and no sign of Parker. Fifteen minutes later, as the cool morning sun broke over the house at the bottom of our street, he and the other straggler arrived. It turned out that Parker’s friend Michael had blown a tire, and Parker and he walked their bikes home together. I thought to myself, “Now, that is leadership.”
A few aspects of leadership are highlighted in this short story:
1) Leadership is deciding to do something and then following through
Starting something new is never easy, but allowing the emotional side of our brains to talk us out of things is easy. It takes ambition and desire to do the uncomfortable. It is not always fun at the start, but personal leadership is doing the uncomfortable.
2) Leadership often requires doing something alone before others will follow
Seldom do leaders start out with a tribe. Follow-through is required in order to attract the tribe. It is not possible to follow someone who is standing still.
3) Leadership involves celebrating small wins
To be successful, one must be happy. A successful life is a composition of successful days. Hitting a home run every day is impossible. Therefore, each and every day, we should find small things to celebrate. Finding the small things leads to the big things. Leaders find the small wins to celebrate.
4) Leadership is supporting others
Being a leader implies that you have integrity. Integrity includes following through on your word and embracing togetherness. A so-called leader who breaks the trust others have placed in him or her will soon fall. A leader who has integrity is unstoppable.
Can you identify any other elements of leadership in this story? I would love to hear your thoughts below.