During our recent Let’s Build Leadership event at our Willis Tower headquarters — sponsored by ESD’s NEW (Network Empowering Women) team — the Leadercast Women speaker, Celeste Headlee, pointed out that the biggest mistake leaders can make is to come to a decision alone. They must be collaborative if they wish to lead.
When we broke up into groups afterward to discuss her talk, technology that is designed to make us more efficient was also pinpointed as an obstacle to communicating in a meaningful way as a leader. Take e-mail. What do people think if we don’t respond immediately? We always fear we’re constantly behind on our e-mails – yet we have no control over the e-mails pouring into our inbox. Conference calls also cause obstacles. They can become monologues where listening suffers because we are not talking face to face.
What can we do to change this? Clarity in setting boundaries is essential. For example, if we receive an e-mail on a Sunday, we can acknowledge it yet tell the sender that we don’t respond in full to e-mails during the weekend.
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