An excellent Communique newsfeed from Nancy Settle-Murphy this morning, at looking at effectiveness of leaders in a virtual world. It strikes me this is a lesson perhaps for built environment and construction leaders as we move into a communication era that is increasingly digital, web based, social media enabled and BIM (Building Information Model) focused:
Even the most experienced team leaders can make us weep with boredom. They torture us with their monotone narrations of 10-Mb slide decks. They regale us with irrelevant minutiae, while sidestepping the really important stuff. Their meetings are more like monologues, with everyone else listening from the sidelines. And for the most part, they probably imagine they’re pretty interesting people!
When we experience boring leaders face-to-face, we have to at least pretend to be somewhat interested. We might take notes (even if it’s a shopping list!), throwing in a few occasional nods so we won’t be called on to replay key points. Copious amounts of caffeine help to some degree, as do the many bio breaks we’ll inevitably need as a result. And who hasn’t had a colleague place an “emergency” phone call in extreme cases of ennui?
Tuning out boring virtual leaders is far easier. Once you put yourself on mute, there’s no end to the more important things you can do, like responding to emails, writing up your latest status report, or finding the best price on that new digital camera you’ve been pining for. (If you work from home, this “important” work can extend to laundry, dinner prep, weight-lifting and more.) As long as you’re within earshot of the conversation, your team leader may assume you’re present while in fact you are completely absent.
So, how can boring virtual leaders learn to become more captivating? (And no, it is not an inherent skill that some are just born with!) In this issue, I take a look at some steps even the blandest leader can take to evolve into an engaging, stimulating and captivating leader, from near or far.
No one actively aspires to be boring. And yet regrettably, few leaders actively attempt to be interesting.