Management Needs Change

Blog Post Transformational Leadership

A decade ago, when you spoke of “a text” in a business setting, you were speaking of the contents of a printed document. A new customer survey. The annual report. That kind of thing.

Today, though, a text is a short blast of information that pops up on our mobile phones — the kinds of little, but important, messages that were once reserved for personal conversation. And that’s just one way that business communication has changed dramatically over the past few years.

Today we have iChat, LinkedIn, Google Chat, Facebook, Twitter, FaceTime conferencing, inter-office-messaging, a plethora of mobile phone communication apps, and on and on. To be sure, all of these tools can make business communication better and more immediate. But they also present a challenge for leaders. Because the better we get at communicating with each other in virtual space, the less we seem to need to share actual space.

Think about it: A decade ago workers most often worked side-by-side in the same buildings. Leaders needed only to walk down the hall to deliver a message directly. But today, half your people may work from their homes or other small, satellite offices dozens or hundreds of miles away. Leaders today may manage people who they rarely see in person, but who they can communicate with at any moment thanks to texting and other tools.

This, then, is the challenge: How to stay connected to your people and connect them with each other in meaningful ways.

To do that today, leaders have to be more mindful than ever of practices, processes, and procedures for relationship building. Leaders need to manage the new tools of communication and find new ways to use them to more effectively to foster collaboration.

Begin that process by asking yourself the following questions, and see how thoroughly you can answer them:

  • If your people are remote and self-managed, are they equipped with the tools they need to stay disciplined and productive?
  • Are you leveraging the current communications tools — especially social media — to build communication among your team?
  • Are you thinking of new ways to use communication tools — ways in which your competitors are not?
  • Are you comfortable with the number of touch points you have with people who work remotely and who you are infrequently face-to-face?
  • In what ways are you working to create an environment that fosters the informal communications that happen in a workplace when people work side-by-side — those proverbial water-cooler conversations — especially if many of your people aren’t working side-by-side?