Can reliance on technology interfere with being an effective leader?

You’d think that the popularity and availability of technologies, particular ones that “make communication easier”, like email, cell phones and pagers, would make it easier to be an effective leader. And certainly being able to communicate with others everywhere and at any time “might” be helpful. But the truth is that reliance on these technologies can actually impede effective leadership. Here’s why.

The ability to lead rests on how followers perceive the leader. For example, leaders who are seen as aloof, uninvolved, uninterested, particularly uninterested in their followers as people, tend to have more difficulty connecting with with their people, and inspiring them to better performance and loyalty.

Unfortunately, many of the newer communication technologies are ineffective in terms of creating people to people connections. While it’s tempting to spend your time (seemingly more productively) by communicating via email, phone or even electronic group meetings, it creates a sense that you lack an interest in your people. While these technologies may be effective at conveying facts, and similar kinds of information, they are “flat” emotionally.

They do not inspire or capture and convey the personal characteristics that people expect from leaders.

So, do not use technologies to replace personal contact. Use the technologies for the transfer of information and facts, but never rely on them to help you establish and maintain a “leadership profile”.

Something else: While techno-communication may allow you to communicate with someone at any time, doing so often results in disrupting the other person’s activities. It also creates the impression that the leader views the employees as at his or her beck and call, and once again, makes it appear the leaders is uninterested in the person as a person.

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