Lead Like A Race Car Driver

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Last weekend I took my Audi A6 on the track for the first time, at Palmer Motorsports Park, and learned an important lesson in leadership.

I asked the instructor to grab my key and get in the drivers seat and show me the track. He drove my car hard and fast on the heels of the other experienced drivers. This track is very windy and I was shocked at what he was able to do with my car. The track has a few turns that pitch down and out, and my car stayed glued to the road.

We then traded places, I was back in the driver’s seat, and he was giving calm direction and feedback after incorrect maneuvers on my part.

I got my car up to 100 mph on the curved straightaway (see photos below); I could have gone faster but didn’t want to smoke my brakes.

This curvy, hilly track was challenging for a first timer — just like a new employee in your company.
I went through the three stages of driver addiction: trepidation, fear, and obsession.  While it was scary to sit in the passenger seat when my instructor flew around the track, I realized that it was even scarier for him to sit in the passenger seat while I screamed around the track. That is how it is to be a leader: take chances on new talent and let them show you what they can do.

Jeffrey’s Breakthrough Idea: Be the instructor, not a micro manager, when you hop in the driver’s seat and show your people ‘how things are done’, and ‘what is possible.’ Then when you give them back the wheel, give calm feedback that is not overwhelming, and leave them excited to try again.

Take Action: Think back to what gave you joy as a youngster and bring that back into your life as an adult. For me it was fixing up my BMW 1600 and driving it fast. What was it for you? Are you leading a joyful life?

IN THIS AUDI R8, I HAD A GOOFY SMILE, UNTIL WE HIT 140 MPH!
 

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