Happy New Year to One and All.
This post looks at what has happened to communication in the workplace. It argues that we must stop using electronic and digital mechanisms as a substitute for, or an easy way to avoid, more meaningful communication.
- There has been an explosion in the number of mechanisms and channels we can use to contact other people;
- The desire to avoid ‘difficult’ interactions with other people is not a product of this explosion, but it has been greatly facilitated by it;
- We are increasingly using electronic and digital means to convey messages which should be delivered in person;
- This is leading to relationship breakdowns in the workplace, and is helping to loosen the already frayed bonds between people and their organisations;
- Research suggests that teenagers – the next generation of leaders and managers – already prefer texting to voice or face-to-face conversation, as they can avoid ‘messy’ and uncontrolled interaction by doing so;
- The task of leadership cannot be accomplished if we continually avoid dealing with real people in real time;
- Leaders need to challenge their motives for using electronic and digital mechanisms so freely: avoiding interaction with people is a negation of leadership.
I am really very interested in readers’ stories and reflections on this subject. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or, better still, leave a comment here for other readers to see.