I Have No Power!


While I was writing this month’s newsletter, fully in the moment, engaged with my keyboard and monitor, disaster struck.   There was a quick blink and a sad sounding whirrrrr and off went the power.  After confirming that the rest of the neighborhood was dark and it wasn’t secondary to me forgetting to pay the power bill, my mind was briefly put at ease.

But then the hopelessness started.  Who cares about no lights or the food in the freezer defrosting?  My most pressing needs are dependent on power.  Now my router was down, no internet, no online radio to work by, my HD monitor was as black as Darth Vader’s cape.  My heart is racing; my breathing rate is climbing faster than inflation!  How am I going to be productive without my technology?  Okay, breathe, breathe, my laptop will work on a battery, and I can still get online with my smart phone.  Oh please, please let the power come back on before the battery needs to be charged again!

In all seriousness, the power company’s calamity did make me change gears from what I was going to write about.  I got to thinking, “Does technology make leadership easier?”  But more importantly, “Does technology make us a better leader?”  At first blush, the answer to the first question would likely be, “Yes.”  But in all actuality, the answer to both questions is probably, “No.”

More and more every day, technological advancements make it faster and more convenient to communicate.  With electronic mail, cellular phones and many other gadgets and gizmos people are always connected.  Along with that, the rapidly emerging social media mediums give us the ability to touch countless people worldwide.  But that being said how does it affect leadership?

  1. Put People First-When it comes to leading others.  Nothing can replace human interaction.  So much of communication comes from more than just words.  All of the subtleties of non-verbal communication are lost when we send a text message or an e-mail.  This can lead to catastrophic misunderstandings.  Never miss the opportunity to speak directly to one of your followers.  Take the initiative to leave the office and meet face to face rather than tapping on a keyboard.
  2. Put That Distraction Down!-When we do have the opportunity, and the privilege to interact directly with another human being give them your undivided attention.  Do not diminish the importance of the conversation to answer a phone, send a text, or to place your computer screen between the two of you.  Take a break from technology.  Nothing you could possibly be doing is more important than the people work that is right in front of you.
  3. It’s Not All Bad Is It?-Technology in and of itself is not a bad thing.  It is just a tool.  But much like you would not cut a string off of your shirt with a chainsaw, you shouldn’t utilize this tool inappropriately either.  Before you use it, think about whether it is the right tool for the job.  If the situation calls for or allows for a personal connection, do not let that chance slide through your fingers.

As always, I hope that these few words provided opportunity and insight into your personal development of leadership.  This is just one short discussion about the art of being a leader of the many more I hope to have with you.  There are so many topics that we have yet to cover, but more on that next month…

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Mike Stanley

Mike has a passion for leadership! He loves to read, write, discuss and teach on a variety of topics that help individuals and organizations raise their level of leadership. His experiences include being a Captain on the fire department, owning a business and being a founding member of the John Maxwell Team.

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