Monday, July 26, 2010
A Final Leadership Lesson from the Tour de France
Armstrong had plenty of personal reasons to withdraw early from the race. It was obvious from the end of week one that he was not going to win. He could have avoided the "embarassment" of not winning. He could have avoided all the press questions about being "old." He could have avoided the physical pain of riding long days with scrapes, bumps and bruises. He could have avoided having to hand over his leadership position to someone else. He could have avoided having to support a teammate who was a "lesser" rider.
But he didn't! He rode everyday. He pushed when he was needed and he supported as needed. He did improve his personal standing but MORE IMPORTANTLY he stayed in a leadership position to allow his TEAM to compete for the championship. And compete they did. The Radioshack team, managed by Johann Bruneel and lead by Lance Armstrong finished as the number one team in the Tour de France.
As a leader Armstrong set aside his personal travails and made sure the team prospered. He set an example that the younger riders learned from and provided an example to all of us of leadership. As a result his team prospered, his team was rewarded (reputation-wise and financially) and he ended his last Tour de France in a manner befitting a champion.
Lesson learned: Leadership is not about personal glory, it is about the success of those you lead.
Photo credit: borrowed from Versus.com without permission but asking for foregivenss