Leadership Lessons while sitting down, leading from a bike!


Olympic fever has hit the Uk having had the most successful day ever in the competitive day at London 2012 yesterday, Thursday 3rd August so the news casters report.    I wonder how many people will take up some kind of sport from all that’s going on shooting, rowing judo and of course cycling.   Cycling has captured people’s imagination with Sir Chris Hoy, Bradley Wiggins and co.

A number of years ago a friend introduced me to another great cyclist who put pen to paper regarding his own experience of the sport, bringing lessons to leadership, team involvement and many other aspects, his name being Lance Armstrong.   Let me see if I can simply put some lasting thoughts together from his penning.   Armstrong paints a picture of team, of corporate riding which is most powerful.   Rather than painting a picture of captains and leaders he paints a way of constant movement, empowerment, honouring the gifts/talents, strengths along with personal ability for the corporate.   In essence I would sum it up with “the terrain determines the leadership”.       That is the best hill climber, downhill rider, flat, or what the terrain determines,  takes the lead.   That the one who has the best ability to meet the coming terrain comes through the team and takes the lead seamlessly and intuitively without competition or jostling or wanting the accolade to be seen the terrain determines who takes the advance and the whole benefits.

We live in a world where those with a title take the lead, or where hierarchy determines the lead, with a top down mentality ruling and making  decisions, rather than the best suited person, or allowing the empowerment or the gifted, the grace gift, to shine through.  It shows a picture where advance is determined by grace, skill, along with who is the best to meet the terrain and circumstances in front.

I fully understand I may be in danger of making more of Armstrong’s’ thoughts than he meant,  yet it has opened up my imagination, it has become a wonderful picture of how the body at every level, and in every area of general life should function within leadership and within any corporate expression.   To have a corporate people who with intuitive procession move constantly, enabling the other to move through all as they  recognise the one with the skill to meet the rigours to advance, rather that all waiting to be asked, told or appointed and titled to do something.   When space is made for the terrain it enables and graces the person with the right skill to come though and takes us ALL on to  achieving the most we can corporately.    We require a new day,  a new way, and a new people to come through, to move corporately, preferring and honouring one another, not stepping back and waiting but moving forward to take on the riggers that are set for us.    It demands us to be mature and not allow any defence, or insecurity to overwhelm us but rather be excited to see the whole breaking through and making advance without loss of face or anything else, allowing  my identity to come through the whole.

Over the years, believe it or not I admit I enjoyed the “Star Trek” series and realised how each series addressed the issues of their era, such as in the first series, the issues of the 1960‘s  with each following spin-off reflecting  their decade.   They displayed and spoke into such topics  as war, peace, value of personal loyalty, imperialism, class, human rights, racism ( it exposed the first cross racial kiss on TV), along with other  important issues.   All its manifestations of leadership styles were cleverly woven in and were there for all to see as the series advanced and the spin off’s came, e.g. Captain James T. Kirk and his interaction with his team, Spock “Bones” as the top dog, he had the only seat in the centre of the ship, then came Captain Jean-Luc Picard who displayed more of a team but he still “made it so”, set the direction and sat in the middle of a row of seats, although he created much more of a team than the first.   The next step is seen through Commander Sisko (DSN), Captain Kate Janeway  (Voyager), now a woman took on the captain’s chair which was now no longer in the centre, but every discipline had their seat and every expert had a place at the centre of the ship, taking responsibility for their disciple, answering what ever the need in front of them demanded.    It was empowering, the multiple people to be corporate befit.

So where does that leave us?    Let me suggest in looking at the Jesus way, I would have to conclude the “you feed” of the feeding of the 5000, although the scripture says that Jesus “knowing what he would do” was seeking to bring through a cooperate environment.   The sending of the 70 out by two’s is yet another way of bringing everyone through.   The “it is better that I leave you that the Spirit may come” is this not again the establishment of the many rather than just the “ONE”, that the  corporate body meets its terrain and allows those fitted by their grace gift to take the advance.   The lead would change in every challenge and joy.

Paul’s encouragement of “as every joint supplies” here the emphasis of supply is important, along with the ‘every”  the corporate body is after maturity,it is not about who controls, or who is the line manager, even or who is the greatest leader?   The greatest is the servant of all, the greatest is the one given to the whole, laying down his/her life for the whole?   The great love of laying down your life for your bother!

Just thoughts may be or some real truth of direction in the advance of leadership.   A family, for is this not what we are, a family needs a sacrificial people laying down for the right people to do the next thing.     We do not want to see the family simply becoming an organisation,  we have enough examples of what happens when that takes place, rather let us see a dynamic advance, new team and corporate influence happening,  determined by the task, the terrain of advance.   In the day of the body, the ‘ekklesia’ of God come.

Next time we will look at more insights from the cycling seat


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