Leadership lessons learnt from riding a motorcycle

There is a correlation between riding a motorcycle and leading a corporate firm. Both riding a bike and leading a team comes with fundamental risks. Leadership and motorcycle riding is goal-oriented. ‘Where you look is where you’ll go’. This holds true for when you are riding a bike or when you are running a business. So, setting the goal and being absolutely focused is key to a great ride!

Learning how to ride a two-wheeler wasn’t an easy process was it? If I had to ask you to remember the phase when you were getting trained or practicing how to ride a motorcycle – I am sure you will have stories of practices, bruises, falls, the immense concentration needed to learn how to ride. Even to date, ambiguity is quite a dominant element when riding a motorcycle and or running a business. While motorcyclists are unaware of the rough terrains or conditions that they are going to steer through, businesses too have to deal with the same ambiguity .

The key to mastering both motorcyclists and leadership skills is to ride smoothly and counter all the challenges with confidence. Hence, there is a lot that motorcycle riding teaches us about leadership.

# Connect the vision to who you are

You don’t need be on this endless journey of ‘fetch’. Be authentic to yourself. You won’t just wake up one day and perform stunts on the motorcycle. Motorcycle evokes a different feeling for every individual and every one rides for a different reason – ask a stunt performer and a racer – they will elucidate very unique reasons for what this activity does for them. What the business does for you and how the vision is connected to who you are is the key to success. This is indeed very significant to tap into before you ride that business to glory or your motorcycle to fantastic destinations.

# Falling down is inevitable, getting up again is on you

Motorcycles and businesses go hand in hand when it comes to ambiguity. We have discussed this before. Falling down is a part of the game but getting right back on the bike and ride again is what makes one a great rider and inevitably a great leader. Don’t make the inconsequential obstacles so significant that it counterfoils the growth. As a leader, you need to be prepared for detours and not get bogged down with challenges. Face them fearlessly!

# As a leader, be open to learning

The world and technology are evolving at a rapid pace. There is something new to absorb every single day. Technology has impacted every industry and business in a colossal way. For motorcyclists to know how to ride isn’t enough anymore. They need to actively acquire knowledge about newer advancements in the world of motorcycling. The same goes for the leaders as well. Their dependency on what they know isn’t adequate. They need to be open to learning. With so many new things blossoming on the horizon, learning is a never-ending process on planet earth and leaders who abide by this are the ones who turn out to be successful.

But, the best leaders, teams, and organizations continually challenge themselves to develop new ways of thinking, seeing, learning, growing, and leading their people. In order to break out of old habits and form new modes of operation, it takes disciplined and intentional guidance.”

# Be aware and observant

You can’t ride blindly – no matter what route you take and how empty the highway looks. Hindrances have a way of appearing from nowhere. The moment you look away, there it is. This is one of the most significant lessons leaders can learn from motorcycle riding. Study the market and competitors, be observant as to what is happening around the world and ensure both you and your team are on the same page.  

# Set boundaries for safety! (after all you are responsible for your own safety)

Reckless behavior can get both motorcyclists and leaders into trouble. Taking risk is a part of the deal however it needs to be done in a more intelligent and calculative manner. Any careless form of behavior or action can be quite dangerous. Keep a check on those red flags but don’t lose your way. Confront them but also know when to surrender or take a detour.

# It’s a climb!

“The task of leadership is to create an alignment of strengths – for a purpose or toward a goal – in such a way that weaknesses become irrelevant.”– Peter Drucker

You need to focus on and understand your own and your team’s strengths in order to be able to reach your goals. It doesn’t happen overnight. You need to utilize the potencies in the right way and then work your way up to success.

All in all, enjoy the ride! Riding is a lot of fun and so is running a business. You need to ensure both you and your team is enjoying the process. At the end of the day, it is this gratification that will compel you and the team to work harder. Celebrate your achievements and literally, enjoy this ride! Make the goal/destination worth the ride.