Are You a Unicycle, Bicycle, or Tricycle Leader?

Are you a do-it-all kind of leader, or do you prefer to delegate? Understanding how we relate to the people around us reveals our leader styles. It shows the kind of leaders we can be and need to be to succeed.

Just like a single-, double-, or triple-wheeled mode of transportation—a unicycle, bicycle, or tricycle—the more support you have, the smoother the ride. My takeaway: As leaders, we are wobblier without help, and crashes become much more possible. Which of these leader styles sounds like you?

1. Unicycle

If you’ve ever watched someone braving a unicycle, it’s an interesting sight. It’s a hard skill to master and few people ever do. It’s certainly not the safest way to get somewhere.

A unicycle leader is more of a loner than a leader. He or she feels like any task can be accomplished—and accomplished well—alone. Like riding a unicycle, this approach to leadership can get unstable quickly, and it’s a stressful way to lead. Unicycle leaders tend to crave accolades and don’t like sharing the glory. This approach leads to major crashes.

Signs you have a unicycle leader style:

You crave power and want to do the “big jobs” yourself.
You view collaboration as a weakness.
You think you know best and seek advice infrequently.
You rarely delegate tasks that could bring glory to the finisher.
You like the limelight and try not to share it.

While being productive is good, speed is often the enemy of balance.

2. Bicycle

Two wheels are better than one—and safer, too. The danger in being a bicycle leader is the propensity to move too quickly.

This kind of leader gets things done. But while being productive is good, speed is often the enemy of balance. Guarding against going too fast for their own good is a chief task for bicycle leaders.

They are efficient and are not afraid to ask for help. Because they share tasks, people gravitate to them and are eager to work with bicycle leaders. Things may occasionally get wobbly under this kind of leadership because of the ever-present urge to go fast, but this is a genuinely smoother workflow style than a unicycle leader’s.

Signs you have a bicycle leader style:

You like to get things done quickly.
You share important tasks to be more efficient.
You are described as steady in your decision-making.
You learn from experience and apply those lessons.
You put team success over personal glorification.

3. Tricycle

Have you ever tried to tip over a tricycle? Good luck. They are stable, and so are tricycle leaders!

Tricycle leaders are more interested in getting the job done right, not just getting it done. They seek out collaboration knowing that teamwork produces the smoothest ride. This person doesn’t mind taking his or her time, works methodically, and rarely wastes time, resources, or ideas.

Shouldering too much weight in a company, organization, or team often results in failure. That’s why the tricycle leader enjoys sharing the burden with capable teammates. This establishes a culture of stability, balance, and confidence.

Signs you have a tricycle leader style:

You rarely strive to finish projects alone.
You actively recruit people to join in tasks.
You are not self-serving but rather team-oriented.
You choose wisdom and experience over bravado and praise.
You value collaboration and see it as a strength, not a weakness.

Sound off: Which of these leader styles best describes you? Is that what is best for you and the people you lead?

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “Would you rather work alone or as part of a team?”