Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013
Drive Trains and Leadership
If you keep up with my blog, you know that my father was a great mechanic…and that he taught me to trace a drive train. What you might not know are the conditions in which some of that teaching occurred.
I was away at college when I began having problems with my ’82 Subaru Wagon, a maroon machine revered by many college friends (at least when transportation was needed for ski trips or beach outings). Each time I pushed in the clutch, the car stalled, yielding a frustrating and dangerous drive. I learned rather quickly that traffic in Raleigh, NC is not very tolerant for moving at the pace that first gear alone can afford.
Anyway, you get the picture. I’m away at school. My car is acting up. My mechanically skilled father is over 300 miles away. I did what any girl would do. I called home and asked to speak to Daddy. My mother immediately wanted to take care of me by calling my uncle who lived across town to come help me with the issue. But not my proud daddy…his daughter was in engineering school. Surely, she could follow phone instructions, trace the drive train, and fix the car. No, my daddy insisted that I could do this.
So for quite some time, I ran up and down the steps of my apartment going from the phone to my car (this may shock anyone born since the turn of the century, but back in those days phones were actually connected by a cord to the wall). I would trace the drive train, look at a particular part, and run back up the steps to the phone to give my father a report of what I found. He would then offer further instructions, and I would dart back out the door and down the steps for the next round of problem solving.
Eventually, he and I fixed the problem. Honestly, I don’t recall a thing about the final solution. But a serious life lesson was seared forever in my mind and heart that day…it is amazing what a person can do when she knows that someone believes in her.
My sweet daddy was unwavering in his belief in me, and there was absolutely no way that I was going to let him down. A good dose of stubbornness on my part coupled with his coaching and encouragement led to problem resolution and a smooth running ride.
I not only learned to trace a drive train that day. I learned a powerful lesson of leadership. Good leaders believe in people and demonstrate that belief with coaching and encouragement.
Thanks for helping me fix my car that day, Daddy. And most of all, thanks for believing in me!!!