The Middle Manager

Surviving & Thriving as a Leader

Can we talk?

Who would have thought that in such a short time we would be surrounded by the level of technology we find today.  I started my relationship with technology back in the 1970’s with a Radio Shack TRS-80 Model One home computer.  It had the computer built into the keyboard, a black and white Zenith television as the monitor, and a whopping 4k of memory.  Today, 35 years later, I carry a smart phone that’s a supercomputer by comparison.

All of this technology is really a mixed blessing.  With email, instant messaging, text messages, voice mail, and a wide variety of social media we’re in touch like never before.  One of the negative effects is that sometimes we (or our staff) can get so caught up in the ease of using the various means of technology that we can lose the human touch.  I’ve often told my staff to avoid getting too caught up in email or instant messages, and instead pick up the phone and actually have a conversation.  There’s much less likelihood of misunderstanding and we can get things done much quicker.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is one of the things that personally annoys me.  The prevalence of cell phones has made it easy for us to be in touch no matter where we might be; however, to me there’s few things more exasperating than trying to have a conversation with someone only to have them answer their cell phone in the middle of our discussion.  It suddenly becomes as if I’m not there and they’re completely distracted by the phone call.  Unless it’s an emergency, how hard is it to let the call go to voice mail?

I’ve recently read that for some folks, social media has become an addiction.  Celebrities and politicians often get into trouble because it’s an unfiltered means of communications.  Criminals have started monitoring some outlets because people post what they’re doing all the time, and once they mention they’re out of town it opens them up to burglary.

Technology can be a real boon, but we should take care that it doesn’t begin to take on too much importance in our lives. It should be a means of facilitating and enhancing our relationships, but should not replace them.   Being real, being human, being part of a real personal interaction will make our life more fulfilling.

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