In a world obsessed with hyper-productivity and success it may be hard to believe that distractions could be a good thing.
Distractions are one of our primary coping mechanisms for dealing with physical pain. Not only that, but also mental pain such as anxiety. In children, pre-surgery anxiety is very common. In one study, three groups of children were studied for pre-surgery anxiety. There were three groups: one was given an anxiety medication; one group was given nothing; one group were given video games to play.
One study found the video game group to have the least amount of measurable anxiety. Another study found that adult patients given video games to play experienced 50% less pain during wound cleanings.
But clearly distractions are also bad at time.
In the workplace, in a group as the leader, is a particular person or group using a distraction as a means to avoid uncomfortable conversation, to avoid boring or challenging work, to disengage from useful problem solving? Maybe it’s OK for your employee to play Words with Friends for fifteen minutes to ease their anxiety about please an important client. Maybe some off-topic conversation at a creative meeting is just want the group needs to relax and be able to share the ideas they think might be good but are afraid of.
Directive leadership, basically a “dictator” style where the leader tells people what and how to do things, is no longer popular. So, is it ever OK to use this style?
When you organization is making a major change and people need to “get on board” is a time when the style might still be useful. This is the point at which you ought to be more directive, revealing to them how to do it. As your colleagues learn and create, you will never again need to screen their work so nearly.
Later on when people are locked in on new policies, procedures etc. you can back off.
At the point when there is an issue or crisis, time is of the essence. You can’t bear to settle on choices by committee in these conditions. This is the place mandated administration truly sparkles.
Some other examples are if there is a situation where anyone’s well-being or security is at hand.
It is still a good idea to allow people to have their voices heard when using this leadership style even if there is no room for negotiation
Because collaboration is so important to creating value, a leader needs to be able to create support, negotiate, find partnerships and get through resistance to achieve the goal. But to make this work a leader needs integrity and cannot survive as pure politician. Customers and clients will only interact and make desire exchanges when they can trust an organization.
Organizations are also falling under increased regulatory scrutiny, here to a leader’s integrity is extremely important. In a data-based society trust must be part of the foundation of many relationships.
Because it is so easy to reach clients and customers across the world organizations have been held hostage and the ransom to conduct business is that they must think globally. “Locally” is anywhere one is doing business and understand the needs and values of each locality is an absolute must.
Specialized interactions that take into consideration even the most niche’ needs of potential partner or customer is no longer a marker of excellence but an expectation.
While the ideas here are generalized and certainly not exhaustive it is a solid base on which to build a new way to think about leading.
This new and digitized age also asks leaders to be hero whose superpower is both decisiveness and humility. They are needed in times of crisis to make bold decisions but they are also need to bring in people with, perhaps, very different backgrounds, skills and personalities. They need to be willing to learn from those who have less experience leading. They need to be inclusive; to be a good listener. They need to understand new technology but also how that new technology will touch and change all aspects of our society.
Continuing from this idea, it used to be that a leader could delegate away responsibilities concerning technology. New technologies can change the way an organization does everything. Therefore, a leader needs to understand how the technology will benefit the company.
Simultaneously a leader now needs to understand and care about people, how new technologies impact their lives. A great leader would bring his team together in such a way everyone walks away having a significant and far-reaching understanding of how something new will change everything, both in business and in their personal lives.
The purpose and value of an organization are very important in a world where disruption and change are constants.
Inside uncertainty, leaders who know very specifically what the purpose and values of the organization are can use them to guide the organization toward meaningful value creation. As the organization changes, the leader needs to be grounded in what its purpose and values. While purpose and values do change, they can serve as a foundation for everything else.
Leaders more than ever need to be willing to quickly and effectively try new things. But these experiments cannot come without limits Purpose and value provide those limits.
While the world has become more digital and more complex that simple statement doesn’t encapsulate the far-reaching implications of digital technology. Unlike other technologies before it, the changes to our social ecosystem caused by digitization have touched and changed almost everything.
To survive as a value-creator, a leader needs a new set of skills. This new set of skills include things like rely not only on one’s strengths but an ever-expanding skill set. Leaders learned to work with people who think different and come from many backgrounds. They put an emphasis on collaboration, especially in instances of serious differences.
Leaders more than ever have to think about what the future is going to look like and what their organization’s role in that future is going to be. Leaders need to be highly strategic and have the ability disassociate from day-to-day concerns to look into the horizon. They should always be looking for a way to create value.
However, being strategic isn’t enough. The new leader also needs to be able to execute plans to find new ways of making value. Usually, these decisions and putting them into action has to be done quickly as our world moves more and more rapidly.
Many of us are obsessed with business founders. Specifically, what sets them apart from the rest of us? Is drive, vision, or a special insight that helps them change entire industries seemingly over night and seem to pull millions and even billions of dollars in profit from thin air? Or is it simpler, is it how they run meetings or make decisions? Is it because the take cold showers, are vegan and meditate under the full moon?
Founders fill a usual space in our culture where in they are guru, eccentric, celebrity and sometimes even comic book villain.
And why should they not? Jeff Bezos completely changed how we shop and how the internet works. Similarly, Mark Zuckerburg changed the way we communicate forever and now sways public discourse. Meanwhile Elon Musk can skyrocket the currency of a meme with a single tweet all while being in a literal space race with Jeff Bezos.
So of course, if you could become one of them, wouldn’t we? Or at the least figure out who the next one will be and invest.
These are the reasons the myths about founders are so powerful. Their stories become a filter for who gets investment capital to start companies and someone we can model ourselves after to replicate their success.