3 Leadership Lessons Before You Drop-Kick Your Garmin

Kathy Rapp Career Advice, Change, Coaching, Communication, Culture, Driving Productivity, Employee Development, Engagement and Satisfaction, Good HR, HR, HR (& Life!) Advice, Influence, Kathy Rapp, Leadership, Learning and Development, Managing People, Organizational Development, Performance, Talent Management, Talent Strategy, wellness

I received a Garmin fitness tracker for Mother’s Day this year. This gift followed a Peloton bike for my wedding anniversary.  And before you think my husband is not so discreetly saying there’s more of me to love than he would like – I asked for both fitness gadgets (ok, the bike is not really a gadget given it costs as much as two rooms of furniture…and not the Ikea kind).

The Garmin has been great for increasing my awareness of activity, heart rate, and calories burned – but it can also be annoying.  As soon as I’ve stopped moving as much as I should, it vibrates and flashes “MOVE” across the screen.  Sure, I know the trick to make it go away, but it still sucks when it does it multiple times during a 4-hour drive or plane ride, or when I’ve just finished a swim and am sucking air.

Put in the context of leadership, though, MOVE is an awesome reminder.  I wish I had a Garmin leadership tracker years ago, warning me when I was stalling or not pushing myself from a leadership perspective.

In HR, we should re-imagine our roles a bit like my Garmin and recognize when it’s time to remind our leaders (and ourselves) to MOVE.  Consider these 3 scenarios:

#1.  Exhaustion is at an all-time high.  If your leaders are complaining about being exhausted, overwhelmed or deflated, it’s time for a nudge.  How can they inspire people if they themselves are searching for an energy kick?

Encourage the use of an Accountability Partner for this situation.  This is a trusted friend, mentor or fellow professional who isn’t afraid to call bull when your leader starts complaining or slacking off.  It’s someone who knows their goals – both professional and personal – and keeps them honest.  Check-ins are important as well as re-framing goals when situations change.  This works best when the accountability partnership goes both ways.

#2.  They believe everyone knows their purpose.  Once success has been achieved, leaders can forget to establish an enhanced direction or purpose.  This becomes even more critical as the organization changes or new people join.  If your leaders don’t frame the go-forward narrative, people can start making decisions that may not align with the culture.

Call an executive coach or facilitator to engage other key stakeholders, and then have them help retell the story and purpose.  Leaders should not assume their purpose gets disseminated throughout the ranks just because they “will” it to happen.  To keep organizations moving and culture in-tact, restating and recruiting new storytellers is key.

#3.  Leaders who have forgotten about leadership development. Leaders must be leaders of leaders.  If your leadership is saying they no longer have time to coach or have become distrustful of their team, their focus on leadership development could be stuck.

It is critical leaders take a significant role within their own programs, as well as encourage development outside of the organization.  They must coach their team to improve upon their strengths continually.  Leadership can be developed through volunteerism, advocacy and even coaching your kid’s Y basketball team, so push them to get creative.

Some call it the sophomore slump – think Pinkerton by Weezer, and to many leaders, it can be beyond a buzzing sound on their wrists kind of annoying.  They’ve killed themselves making a company or project successful, only to fail at the next significant challenge.

As HR leaders, we must be deliberate in our plans to grow leaders as the business grows or shifts.  We must push them to MOVE, even when they believe they are being active and yet not getting results.

And as for my Garmin’s heartfelt reminders when I’m engrossed in a good move, well, let’s just say I’ve learned to relax as I gently place it at the bottom of my purse for the rest of the show.