Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Using technology to improve your leadership.



I read an article on Six Sigma Training in the UK recently about using technology to improve leadership, and it got me thinking about where I have used technology to improve my leadership and management.

In the article it focused on 4 key areas:
Feedback;
Communication;
Organization; and
Learning new skills.

So I wanted to share a few ways that I have already started using technology to improve my leadership.

Feedback:

Getting feedback (constructive and honest feedback) is not always easy and in fact the higher you get within an Organisation, the fewer the people willing to give you feedback. However LinkedIn and the many groups you can join within it, are a great source of feedback.
I simply post a question about a situation and the way I handled it, and I very quickly get a raft of responses from people around the world, many of them no doubt smarter and more experienced then I. The best things about it is that it is impartial, you get responses from a veriety of industries and positions, and you get a lot of them. This allows you to get a broad range of opinions from which you can formulate a soution that suits your style and environment.

Communication:

This is the most obvious and the most risky of the above areas as technology allows us to respond and communicate quicker then ever before, but that's not always a good thing. So let's start with the positives and then a few warnings.

With devices like laptops, smart phones, and tablets, we have access online just about everywhere we go. Add to that the multiple platforms which you can access such as email, instant messenger, Skype, and of course social networking sites, it's easy to establish regular contact, and engage with your team. This can help you learn more about your staff and their lives, which in turn, can help you establish a better connection and relationship with them.

However remember this goes both ways, what you do in your personal life may no longer be personal, as many of us have work collegaues and staff following us on various platforms. So be careful about setting up your accounts and be aware of what your posting/ sharing if colleagues are going to see it. Remember also that with the speed and the reach of many of the aforementioned platforms, once something is out there, it's really out there!
So make sure you think about what your about to post, because, you could well be talking to or sharing with a massive audience.

Organisation:

I recently started using an iPad to manage my meeting notes and To Do list, the result has been a substantial increases in efficiency in both areas, which allows me to spend more time leading my team on working on my own development.
There are so many different apps to help organize your life, I recommend if this is an area you're weak in, to give it go. Every hour you save on trying to organize your self is an hour you can put to good use either for your team or for yourself, which leads to the next point.

Personal development:

I am never more than a click away from my reading list, news articles, leadership papers, and literally thousands of sources of information on ways to improve my knowledge and skill set.
It's so important if you want to grow and develope yourself, that you continuaully update your grey matter. It's never been easier to do so, so take ownership of your own development and spend some time each day to read, engage in conversation (live or online), share, and ultimately learn more.

A few places to start learning, check out News aggregation apps like StumbleUpon, or Zite, blow your mind on TED, sign up to LinkedIn and join some groups, download e-books onto your phone, tablet, or computer, and start using Twitter to follow News feeds, management guru's and spiritual leaders.

I hope you find some of these tips useful and if you have some more, please share.

Thanks for reading and remember it's Only My Opinion.

Sources and acknowledgements: thanks to Six Sigma Taining for sparking the conversation and you can read the original article here:
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