It has been said that technology often moves faster than business itself. And perhaps that is true in many respects. In today’s marketplace, we are accessible 24/7 and can transact business around the globe with the touch of a button from a mobile device.
Cellphones are no longer call-making devices but have become mini-powerhouses of computing intelligence at our fingertips. We now have “apps” for practically everything we need. In fact at last count, the Apple App Store alone offers 225,000-plus apps to its loyal customers.
But as with most things in life, those advances have also created a new expectation with employees and perhaps we as leaders have fallen into the traps of modern technology.
Is it possible that in daily interactions with our team we have allowed the benefits of technology to slip into our leadership habits? Consider these three reminders:
#1 Some apps are free; your reputation is not.
Apple provides countless tools to make your life easier. Quick access to business tools, entertainment gadgets and online portals are often free for customers. However, as leaders your actions each day – each time – with your team and customers are an investment in your personal reputation. Do we mess up? Absolutely. Humans do, no one is perfect. However, over time those you interact with assess your character, intent and results. Mess up any of those repeatedly and you will always struggle in your leadership.
#2 There is no app for personal feedback.
There is no substitute for interaction with you. The only way your team will know it is succeeding or failing is by your feedback. Teams who outperform their competition have leaders who find the time for daily interaction that is both specific and delivered in a way that encourages progress. In our fast-paced workplace it can be tempting to not make time for this critical interaction. But in today’s competitive workplace, can we afford not to?
#3 Apps are easy to use; do you make it easy for your team to follow you?
Smartphones have taught its customers how easy it is to use their products. With a simple touch applications can be accessed and immediate results display. Can the same be said of you? How “easy” is it for your team to work with you? Have you clearly communicated the team’s vision? Is there a shared understanding in performance expectations? Do you provide regular feedback? Do your employees avoid you? Is laughter a part of each day? Do you know something personal about every person on your team? Is your team asking you to help them grow? Are employees outside your department trying to work with you? These questions are a great starting point to assess this leadership skill.
The truth is technology has made our jobs easier. I encourage and challenge you to remember the difference between leadership tools and leadership itself. Take to heart each of these three truths and you will find your job as leader actually becomes easier too. Your team will achieve results others cannot. And no “app” can do that for you.