A recent USA Today headline caught my attention…. “2010 The Year We Stopped Talking.” Texting and emailing are now our preferred way of communicating. While being breathlessly, deliriously busy has been equated with commitment and value generation, I sense people are starting to push back against this pressure to be “always on.”
One of the ways people are planning to “take their life back” is by re-evaluating their use and dependence on e-messaging tools. How do these devices affect our workplaces and how well we serve as leaders?
Please allow me to fuel some conversation by sharing some observations:
- As humans we need and thrive on our connections with others. Relationships are built through contact…the spoken word, the tone and the expression are vital. Electronic media can help maintain meaningful relationships but they can’t create them. In the extreme, e-messaging can be a cowardly way of sharing information.
- To be effective leaders we must focus on these people under our sphere of influence. Being all things to all people is a foolish pursuit. We must be available to those we have a responsibility to shepherd.
- Too much information of little or no value is passed around. Break the cycle. Lead the way by cutting your e-messages by at least 50 percent and help others do the same.
- Multi-tasking doesn’t work. Dedicate a portion of the day to exclusively reading and answering e-messages. It’s rude and insulting to have one eye ball on a colleague and the other on your Blackberry.
What do you think about our use of e-messaging tools: Have we mastered these devices or have they mastered us? What are your watch-outs with communication technologies? Please share ways that you have found to harness the power of electronic tools. We can learn from you. Thanks!