Peloton

Leadership and teamwork are important because it increases the likelihood of a company to achieve its mission. Strong leadership will ensure that a team is moving in the same direction to achieve its goal.  A peloton is a group of cyclists moving in the same direction to achieve a common goal.  

As a cyclist myself I have traveled long distances and spent many hours on a seat that wasn’t designed to sit on for probably more than 10 minutes.  Have you seen those things?  Riding alone requires much more energy and time.  I spent my first few years of cycling riding by myself. Sure, I accomplished my goals but when I was finally exposed to the power of group riding, I was hooked.  It didn’t happen overnight.  In fact, it took some time and practice with people who were more experienced to coach me on how to work together in this powerful force called a peloton.

According to a study published in the Journal of Wind Engineering and Industrial Aerodynamics, riders in the belly of a peloton are exposed to 95% less drag than they would experience riding alone.  Riders in this group save energy by riding close.  A well-balanced team is much more efficient and can maintain a faster pace than a lone cyclist.  They are an integrated unit (similar to birds flying in a V formation) that requires communication, trust, and an “it’s not about me” attitude.  If someone breaks away and attempts to go it on their own in their bid for glory, the peloton will most likely catch up to them.  Why? The answer is the wind.  Travelling at high speeds, cyclists experience wind resistance even in the still air and reach exertion much faster than in the group.

What does this have to do with leadership and teamwork?

It’s not about you—working together provides an opportunity to be more efficient.  Your team success is your success.  Just like the breakaway rider experiences burnout faster, your resistance to working as a team may backfire and you will find yourself left behind.

In a team of any kind, we must communicate.  The leader (person in front) can see things coming before the group and takes responsibility to call out “hole!!” or “car up!” to put everyone on alert and avoid catastrophe.

The better the communication, the greater the trust! Have you ever worked with a team and the experience was so great that you would work with those people again and again?  You will want to keep riding and working with people that you trust.

“Get on my wheel” is a common thing a cyclist might say to another rider.  This means I see you are getting tired, let me help you out.  As a team we can grab a wheel of a teammate and work together. It can make overcoming challenges easier.

As a leader you are observant of your team and open to making adjustments as needed.  Which means you may not always be at the front of the group but somewhere in the middle encouraging others while someone else get’s up front for a while.

Key takeaways:

  • It’s not about you—work together
  • This will fuel your team with more power and energy
  • Pay close attention to each other and possible dangers
  • Communication is key to building trust

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