What my FitBit has taught me about Leadership…

posted in: People | 15

Hello, and meet my new obsession – the FitBit – a tiny little activity tracker that monitors the steps you take and your sleep cycles.   Last week, I bought my husband a Fitbit for his birthday, and one for me for.. well, just because.  I figured it would be fun to “compete” with each other on how many steps we can get and encourage each other throughout the day – I was right – it is fun.

We are both completely enamored with this silly little gadget – to the point where last night, after our evening stroll I noticed I was only 900 steps away from my goal, so we put our sneakers back on, and struck back out to get me to my target.

While I am a Trail Blazer – I am also a business owner -which means I end up sitting on my duff more than I care to admit.  It’s actually a challenge for me to get 10,000 steps on a weekday (which equates to about 5 miles.)  This is a challenge I didn’t know I had -I thought I led a pretty active lifestyle until FitBit pointed out otherwise.

You would think something sitting on your wrist, monitoring your every move would be annoying – but it’s not.  I’m finding it enjoyable.  I got thinking about how this could be because, in essence, I hate being micromanaged.  What is it about the FitBit that is so motivating that it encourages me to literally go the extra mile?  What leadership qualities does this device have that we could emulate to motivate our teams to take extra steps?

Mission – When you get your Fitbit, you spend some time “setting it up.”  You input your goals for steps, you decide what your health goal is (to lose weight or not) and you can even monitor your water intake.  A good leader sits down with their team and writes out their goals – together.   Don’t just bring your agenda to the table – if Fitbit didn’t allow me to change my step goals, I could either become bored with a low goal, or discouraged with a goal that was set too high.  Fitbit allowed me to have input.

Vision – Every morning I wake up and look at my sleep stats.  I also see who the leader is amongst my friends, and wonder what I could do that day to push myself up the rankings.  A good leader encourages their team to review their goals every day.  Successful coaches bring their teams in for a huddle to review the next plays, to make sure everyone knows what they are doing, and to encourage them to go out there and do their best.

Accountability –  Accountability can be tricky – while we don’t want to micromanage and hover over our team’s shoulders, it is human nature to wander.   A good leader nudges their team and reminds them of their personal goals, and the team’s mission.  Fitbit designed a way to “check-in” by tapping the device and seeing a series of lights that indicate where you are in context to your goal.  Rather than hovering, a good leader encourages their team to check in regularly.  Allow your team to come to you to get feedback, direction, and encouragement.    Accountability is an opportunity to motivate. While providing accountability do not scold, reprimand, or discipline your team members.

Celebration – When you reach your step goal with Fitbit, the display lights up, flashes back and forth, and buzzes in wild celebration.  You hit your goal!!! Hooray!  When you go back to your computer or smartphone it celebrates you by saying “You are a CHAMP!!”  It may sound silly, but nothing feels better than being recognized.  Genuinely celebrate the individual and group efforts of your team.  Put their name in lights.  Let them know you see their accomplishment.  Celebrate their victories with them.

In what small ways do you motivate and encourage your team to go the extra mile?

Until next time – Hit the Heights!
Priscilla Hansen Mahoney
Business Leadership Guide

PS – I am not paid to endorse Fitbit – I just think it’s a super cool product.

Follow Priscilla Hansen Mahoney:

Business Coach for Contractors

Business Coach for Contractors and Founder of Blazing Trails Coaching I help my clients “get out of their pickup trucks and on top of their businesses.” I specialize in working with skilled-trades business owners to help them streamline processes, train leaders, engage employees, and make their businesses efficient and profitable.

15 Responses

  1. Anonymous

    Good job, keep up the good work

  2. Julie Gorges

    My sister just got a FitBit and she is as enthralled with it as you are! Great comparison with the qualities you need as a leader of a team.

  3. Rachel

    Awesome little gadget 🙂 I’ll have to check into one 🙂 Thanks for sharing and great leadership as well!

  4. Joyce

    What a great concept – I’ll have to check it out. 🙂

  5. Leanne Opthoog

    What an interesting concept and obviously great for accountability :o) Thanks for sharing Priscilla!

  6. rozbeads

    I think I like idea of this gadget better than a pedometer. I am on my duff way too much and have no routine or desire for walking or exercise. Have to look and see if I really want to take this on. Great post.

    • blazingtrailscoach

      It’s a great motivator – if you need a place to start – it’s a great way to know where to add small steps to your day – a little adds up to a lot!

  7. Suzie Cheel

    I have thought about getting one, great post on leadership thank you

  8. Ellen Thomas

    Love this! I bought my husband one after hearing my sister rave about hers. Thinking seriously about getting one myself. While I run or hike 4-6 miles/day, I’d like to see how much other activity I log in a day…