We sometimes forget how to be human in a fast-paced technological world. The following is an extract from my forthcoming book Leading through uncertainty.
Have you ever wished there were more hours in the day?
Do you find yourself permanently rushing from one place to another?
Do you get to the end of the day only to discover you haven’t achieved the things you planned to do?
We live in extraordinary times. Life and work are changing at an alarming pace in ways we cannot predict, and at times it leaves people feeling exposed, uneasy and uncomfortable. People are increasingly connected to technology and disconnected at an emotional and physical level. It’s not unusual to see a family of four at a restaurant all on their mobile phones, with their attention elsewhere to where they are physically present.
Fast-paced technological world
Technology processes high volumes of data, and the human brain is unable to match the computer in processing power. As such, our view of the pace and volume of data that we can process is skewed. The rapid advancement of technology has fuelled a high pace of change and has led to a constant bombardment of information or “noise”, making it harder for people to switch off.
Fast-paced change and increasing amounts of information in organisations create overwhelm, a jumbled mind and “head spin” where people grasp for the answers and information amongst a plethora of data. Some cope with this by tuning out external distractions, focusing on their own needs and disconnecting from those around them. Others engage and vie for attention and their opinion to be accepted as the “right answer”. The perceived connection is not real but self-driven from the ego.
Where are you disconnected from others?
We are not machines and the ever-increasing pace is not sustainable for human beings. We are bombarded by information, but we cannot process it at the same pace as a computer. As computer processing power increases in speed, our view of what is possible becomes further skewed, and people put themselves under increased pressure to try to keep up. The uncertainty of operating in an environment like this is immense, and the continuous uncertainty and pressure can lead to overwhelm and overload. There is no headspace for reflection, and people find themselves caught up in the swell.
What the book covers – how to be human
In my book Leading through uncertainty I explore the impact technology can have on how we lead. It is a leadership choice how we use technology and we need to develop new habits and behaviours to ensure that we use it in an ethical way to enhance our lives. I explain how technology can support connection and collaboration if used consciously and I explore how it can lead to disconnection, break down relationships and divide communities if we use it unconsciously.
In addition, the book also covers the emotional challenges that uncertainty creates and the skills we need to develop to enhance the way we live and work in our fast-paced technoloigical world, including:
- Creating a framework – provide certainty for people to hang on to, including values, a clear vision and strategy and clear guidelines for operation. Focus on the things you can influence and let go of the things you can’t.
- Co-sensing and co-shaping the future – cshift your focus from egocentric to ecocentric and act in service of others and the bigger picture. Balance slowing down for reflection with being agile in decision-making.
- Listening and dialogue – be willing to have your view altered by the perspectives of others and create time for dialogue to allow others to be heard and understaood.
- Connection and support -foster an environment where everyone feels safe to connect in their own way. Notice where people disconnect and invite them to re-engage.
- Building trust – choose trust as a starting point for every interaction. Trust is a leadership choice in every moment and you can still trust people even if you do not like their behaviours.
- Stay with the discomfort of uncertainty – do not retreat when it is uncomfortable. Avoid disyrtaction techniques that take you off track. Stay open and curious in uncertainty.
- Be human! – be open, honest and transparent. Drop the masks and create an environment where peopel feel safe to bring all of themselves.
- Lead from the heart and soul – go above and beyond what is expected. Lead with courage and compassion.
Each of the items above is a chapter in the book and will be covered in future blog posts.
Join me at the Leading through uncertainty book launch
on 24th May 2018 in Warwickshire
Contact me on 07584 248822 to discuss how I can support your leaders