By Ryan Jenkins
Today’s emerging generations do not have adequate role models who balance online and offline activities well. A majority of the leaders setting the examples are either overly consumed by technology trying to keep up and chasing every new shiny digital object or they completely dismiss technology out of ignorance. Both of which are extremely unhealthy and in many cases are leaving the emerging generation to fend for themselves on how best to strike a healthy technology balance.
The above text was based on the previous blog post, If You Hate Technology Than You Must Hate Puppies Too. After writing it, I got to thinking more and more about how leaders can model to the next generations the effective use of today’s technology and how best to strike a healthy balance. Turns out it’s as easy as ABC.
ABCs of How Leaders Can Model Effective Use of Technology
It all starts with a healthy appreciation of technology. Humans can be prone to focus on the negative. Stop that. Neglecting or resenting technology will decrease your productivity and put you in a lesser position of authority to coach others on effective use of tomorrow’s technology. Appreciation of the extraordinary benefits of technology will release you from the grip of resentment.
- Action: Find 1 reason to be grateful for the technology you use. To get you started, here are my 12 Simple Reasons To Appreciate Technology.
You can’t benefit from a seatbelt unless you use it. Same goes for technology. Take inventory of your day to day tasks and routines. Is there anything that is cumbersome or that feels dated? Such as taking notes on a notepad and retyping to send to a colleague or switching between 3 different calendars to schedule 1 meeting. More than likely, technology can be your solution because after all, “there’s an app for that.”
- Action: Take inventory of all of your daily non-technology tasks. Choose 1 task. Search the app store or YouTube for a tech solution to simplify or streamline. Implement and hang in there until it’s fully integrated as a habit.
Last time you worked on a team, what was your perception of the individual who contributed the least? Perhaps “freeloader” comes to mind. This applies to your online communities as well. Are you perceived as a taker or a giver? Contribution cultivates trust in today’s digital world. Leaders are full of wisdom. Share it.
- Action: Choose 1 social network (LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter) and hyper-focus on sharing daily value-add content surrounding your unique expertise. Think of it as a micro-blog.
Exercise is healthy until it encroaches on other set priorities (aka work, family, etc.). 100% of life’s activities need moderation. Technology, once again, is no different. Set limits and guardrails with your team or family to protect your priorities. Leaders must be in complete control of the technology they use.
- Action: Establish 1 no-multi-tasking zone. Ashley and I don’t deny technology at meals because at times our mobile device is used to enhance our conversation by sharing a video, referencing an article or taking a picture but we do delimit multi-tasking activities that don’t foster 2-way communication (texting, email, Facebooking, etc.).
Be content but never satisfied. Satisfaction can limit exploration and provide a false sense of completion. We can’t expect to know all there is to know about today’s technology but that should not discourage continuos learning and mastering. As leaders, you can’t expect to steer a parked car. As technology evolves so must your adaption and use of it. Commit to always being a student of technology and finding ways to use it and not get used by it.
- Action: Ask 5 friends (or Millennials) these 2 questions: 1) How do you use technology to get more done at work and/or home? 2) What is your favorite app on your phone and why? Listen, integrate, benefit.
Question: How else do you role model effective use of technology?