With a little practice, changing gears can be instinctive. I bet in hindsight most individuals would say s/he received a lot of direction and support to learn and develop cycling? Let’s use cycling as a sample.  Cyclists usually begin with a goal, consider his/her development relative to the goal and set out to accomplish and adjust as needed. To support the various variables, most bicycles have two or three chain rings in the front which allow the chain to shift from the cog which supports the cyclist’s efforts to achieve the goal.

For anyone who has ever cross-chained, you know how annoying it is and the stress it causes trying to get re-aligned, not to mention the undue stress it causes on the bike let alone the rider’s mental psyche of miss-matching.

Both cycling and leadership have commonalities, they require goals, diagnosing and matching or adjusting.  Similarly to cycling, leaders must begin with a goal or a task, then diagnose the development level, and match his/her leadership style with a proper balance of direction and support.

Could you imagine not matching your gears on a bike ride to a steep 12% hill to be efficient and effective? Although I bet leaders can reflect and feel some of the same agony as trying to climb a hill in a wrong gear if one has ever had a miss-match with talent.  Just like cycling, the match with leadership styles to the development levels of individuals also needs to change from situation to situation. Question for you, how often do you/or do you experience your leader matching his/her style to your development level based upon the goal?

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