“The true risk is not that computers will start thinking like men; rather, the danger is that mankind will start thinking like computers.”
This is Sydney J. Harris.
Integration of talents is necessary for leadership mastery in this age of information technology. The future demands each of us to integrate our talents in order to attain mastery of leadership in the digital era. Whether your main skill is being good with technology or dealing with people, we will all need to combine our skills in the future.
If you are a leader who is knowledgeable about technology, it is probable that you are intelligent, capable, analytical, process-oriented, quick, and focused. The workplace places a high premium on these talents, and the moment has come to combine them with skills in people management and technology management in order to enhance the overall efficacy of leadership as well as to advance both your team and the business. To be an effective magnificent leader in today’s technological times, one must be both tech-aware and evolutionary. These are the abilities that are required.
In the past, the development of people skills was frequently overlooked since it was deemed to be too “touchy-feely” or unimportant. However, in the most recent decade, a stronger emphasis has been placed on the acquisition of technological abilities. Since the global economic challenges of 2008, progressive organisations have noticed the gap and have been investing in training and developing their leaders to now include highly developed leadership skills as they relate to the “people” side of the business. This shift in focus comes as a direct result of the global economic challenges of 2008. As a result, companies are becoming more aware of the value of having a skilled and educated workforce, and as a result, they are becoming aware of the necessity of having great leaders who can inspire and develop the talent already present within the company; otherwise, their good talent will leave and go elsewhere.
A few years ago, I worked on a consulting contract for a high-tech business that was having trouble retaining its Generation Y employees. The company was facing a number of issues in this area. Following an examination, it was found that the leaders who belonged to the Baby Boomer generation were not adjusting to the mentalities and ways of working of the Gen Y generation. In one firm, the bosses, who were Baby Boomers, had a superiority complex and required that all of the staff comply with their standards using the outdated approach of “my way or the highway.” You can probably guess that this did not go over very well with the Gen Y employees, and a good number of people with high levels of talent began departing in droves once it was announced.
As the average age of those in positions of leadership in the technology industry continues to decline, the challenges that need to be overcome now focus on having the knowledge and understanding of human behaviour necessary for effective leadership in order to keep the team happy, functioning, and producing excellent results.
The leaders of the Baby Boomer generation saw themselves in a position of superiority and sought conformity from their workforce. You can probably guess that this did not go down well with the Gen Y employees, and a substantial chunk of them started departing in droves once it was announced.
There is a need in today’s modern workplace as well as the workplace of the future to have leaders who are adaptable, astute, and able to mobilise people to perform their work at their highest levels, manage remote teams and flexible work teams, and be technologically savvy. In other words, there is a need to have leaders who are more than good leaders; they should have leadership mastery.
Because of the heavy emphasis that has been placed on the technology parts of the job, many of the leaders in the organisation have either forgotten about effective change leadership strategies or have never been exposed to them.
In this chapter, we are going to compare and contrast a leader who is knowledgeable about technology with one who is knowledgeable about people.
Let’s have a look at the chart down below to see some illustrations of the most important distinctions:
A leader who is technologically savvy and analytically quick.
Dedicated to the use of computers
concentrated on both the data and the results.
Impatient with regards to matters involving individuals
Communicate in technical jargon and be less sensitive to the feelings of others.
focused on the task at hand, with a concentration on results.
A People-Oriented and Sociable Leader is enthusiastic and inquisitive.
oriented toward or concerned with people.
It is centred on the impact that data has on individuals.
Deals with situations involving others with compassion and understanding highly attuned to the feelings of others, emphasis on the team.
You may have found yourself evaluating some of the elements on the lists as you went through the descriptions of the tech-savvy leader and the people-savvy leader. This may have happened as you were reading through the lists. You may also have believed that you had a high level of proficiency in all of the talents that were given.
For instance, I have a customer who is an incredibly people-focused CEO. However, she is not very knowledgeable about technology; as a result, she is clever with regard to people but not so much with regard to technology. As her consultant, I am helping her improve in both areas so that she may become a more successful leader. Our work together is focused on improving both of these areas. What I mean when I talk about having technical awareness and function is that this is not the same thing as being an expert in technology.
Leaders who want to master technology and have a deeper understanding of it choose to spend the time they need to develop their people skills. This is in addition to the time they spend constantly expanding their technological knowledge and awareness.
When I make presentations, I always give out my mobile phone number so that anyone in the audience may text me while I’m speaking and ask me questions. Most recently, I gave a presentation in Orlando, Florida, for a big global technology organisation. This works out extremely well since the questions are anonymous (unless the person asking the question wants to identify themselves), and I am able to answer them while simultaneously going through the material that I am presenting. When I was speaking on the need for computer workers to enhance their people skills as part of effective leadership, one of the questions I was asked was, “How can I get my team members to just stop all of their politics and focus on the work?”
I responded to the leader’s SMS with a query about whether or not it would be OK to make the inquiry public and discuss how the group may benefit from the answer. I asked him if they had frequent team update meetings in person or over Skype, and he answered yes. Then I questioned him more. “Do you have regular team update meetings either in person or through Skype?” I then questioned the leader, “Do you freely discuss what is occurring with your team so that they know the newest information first hand?” The leader responded, “no,” and I then asked, “Do you openly share what is happening?” …and his response was, “no.”
This is a hard fact, and one that you have undoubtedly experienced both as an employee and as a leader. People do not quit their jobs; rather, they leave the leaders who are responsible for them.
I felt it was important for this topic to be brought up in front of the entire group because, in the scenario that we were discussing, the leader was solely focused on his tech-savvy abilities and was not using any people-savvy abilities at all, and there were many other people in the audience who were similar to him. The individual who texted the query had the guts to identify themselves to the group, and together we brainstormed ways in which he might convince his colleagues to quit playing political games and instead concentrate on the tasks at hand. Some of the suggestions that were offered to him were as follows:
1. Hold a team meeting regularly (at least once a week, if at all possible), either virtually or in person, to talk about the goals for the coming week, who is responsible for what, and the latest news about the company and your boss.
Identify the one or two individuals who are the “influencers” of the political manoeuvring and then invite them out for coffee or lunch to discuss the company, or schedule a one-on-one Skype call with them if they are remote workers. Ask them about their level of contentment with their job, as well as what they require in order to be able to concentrate on getting the work done. Having the backing of an influential person or people is a significant benefit.
After being presented with these concepts, the member of the audience said aloud, “Geez, managing people sure is a lot of effort!” And this is where the majority of leaders face their greatest obstacle.
A lot of leaders let themselves become distracted by things like deadlines, technological advances, and financial outcomes, and as a result, they forget that you can’t do anything without the help of your team members. People are not automatons; rather, they are human beings who experience feelings and have a requirement to be acknowledged as valuable members of a team.
A hard fact that you have undoubtedly encountered both as an employee and as a leader is that people do not quit their jobs; rather, they quit the people who are in leadership positions above them.
If you want to be a great leader, you need to ask yourself if you are willing to help other people achieve their goals, to develop other people, and eventually to devote the necessary amount of time and effort to being a great leader. As the workplace continues to speed up and change, it is more important now to focus on both the tech and people sides of the business. This means knowing who you are as a leader and adapting to the reality of managing people. Additionally, as the workplace continues to speed up and change, it is more important now to focus on both the tech and people sides of the business.