Play to Your Teams’ Strengths; or, Another Biking/Management Blog

In my last blog I talked about doing things outside of work that can make you a better manager. Keeping your mind clear and your health up is not only good for you but also necessary to manage well and keep a team motivated. While biking I tend to do a lot of thinking about my next couple of blogs, and this one came to mind this morning.

I’m not a great climber when it comes to biking. I’m not horrible, but when it comes to the long climb on a mountain or road bike, I need to be in the middle of my training year before I can keep up with the guys I usually ride with. I need to be really prepared to keep up with more accomplished climbers, and even then if the climb is long I’m generally doomed.

I ride with a couple of my employees, and one of them is a climber, the other is an all around good rider. The climber is young, thin as a whip, a runner and a generally good athlete.   However, put him on a bike and he always climbs mountains like he’s competing in France.

I’m a downhiller; I like the speed and technical challenges of keeping it all together under pressure and with quick decision making (weird that I’m a manager).   Here’s the funny part, no matter how hard my climbing bike friend tries, he can never keep up with me on a downhill, but he always gets it back when we start to climb. It’s a running joke among us.

It could be (and a large part is) that I weigh 80 pounds more than he does, which works to both of our respective advantages. It’s also the technique we use to ride in each setting that gives us further gains on each other. My point is when we all get to work; our riding roles mirror our workdays.

My steady rider is dependable and smart, a solid climber and a pusher of the limits by which we all ride to (lets go a little further today than planned). My climber is amazing at a select number of jobs here at work, and learning others that he absorbs like a sponge. He’s getting better and is aggressively expanding his knowledge and opportunities.

I know what each is capable of, both on a bike and at work. The biking together reinforces our team values but also helps us define our personalities and roles during our careers. Improving my climbing friend at work is like showing him the better execution of the stroke necessary to catch me downhill. He will get there, and I hope by then I will be climbing better. But we all there to push each other, to rely on one another during flats or problems, and we all know when to work harder and when to get out of the way for a stronger member of the team.

Use your teams strengths and help develop them in areas where they are not so strong. The reward is strong friendships and more efficient working teams.

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