How Is Learning To Lead Like Learning To Ride A Bike?

Posted on July 2nd, 2018 by John Hackett

stay focused

Learning to be a leader is a lot like learning to ride a bike.

Learning to ride a bike and learning leadership skills are intentional acts which require support to learn skills to improve yourself and others.
Think back to when you first learned to ride a bike. You were probably nervous and afraid of falling. It was an opportunity to grow and be more independent, but it was scary. This reminds me of my first leadership position. I was anxious and a bit unsure of my abilities and afraid of failing.

Learning To Ride A Bike

Learning to ride a bike for me required training wheels and a gradual process of learning with the support of my Dad beside me. This is much like the mentoring I received as a new leader


Sign Up for the DSWA Newsletter

The next big step was “ditching“ the training wheels and going it alone. I really wasn’t alone, Dad was right behind me encouraging me to do my best, keep my eyes up and use the skills I had developed.

He also was there after my first few falls to help me work out a plan to stay up on the bike. I developed into a competent bike rider who could help my family by getting places by myself and running errands. I continued to get coaching help and reminders on the safety and rules of bike riding which still guide me today as a long-distance bicyclist.

This is what a coach does for a leader. They use empowering questions, heart-centered listening, compassionate feedback, agreed upon accountability and “ICU” acknowledgment to facilitate the leader as they learn to use and expand their skills to be the best leader they can be. The results are the same for the new bike rider, and the new leader each becomes the best they can be. They use their skills to add value to everyone they interact with as a family member or a CEO or both.


Sign Up for the DSWA Newsletter

About the Author

John Hackett, Ed.D is an accomplished and experienced coach, trainer, and leader in a variety of nonprofit and direct sales settings. He has 45 years of professional experience serving as professor, licensed counselor, and high school administrator, as well as a university administrator. John is a DSWA Certified Trainer and can be reached at john@dswa.org.