Dianne was in danger of burning out. When she was not doing reports on her group’s performance or sitting in meetings, she was talking on the phone and checking emails. Her former colleagues were more guarded since she became their boss. She felt unsupported and isolated. She was not sleeping well and her health was suffering.
Her breakthrough came when she realised that she did not need to have all the answers. That was something that had bugged her since her early days as a technical expert. She had a dim view of leaders who did not understand the detail of their portfolio and vowed that she would not be like them when she became a leader. However, she now realised that she had to become more resourceful, rather than trying to be across everything. Her self-reflection led to a renewed focus on her team. She worked with them on aligning on the vision for the group. She changed her practice of communication from mostly online to face to face meetings where possible.
Dianne unleashed the leadership potential of her team through tapping into their commitment to make a big difference. She challenged them to step up to a new level in their leadership. She found that having more face to face communication meant they spent less time on email. The team’s overall performance improved in the eyes of their key clients. The big take-away for Dianne was that connecting with people made her work fulfilling.
Dan Schawbel in his book, Back to Human, argues that we are spending too much time on digital communication and not enough time connecting with the people around us. Research conducted for his book, suggests that, Workers spend almost 50% of each day on digital vs. in-person communication, and more than half feel lonely as a result.
Schawbel lists five characteristics that are important for fulfilment.
Connection: A strong connection to your teammates makes work more meaningful and enjoyable.
Values: The more you demonstrate them, the more you internalize them.
Purpose: Your personal story and the thread that connects the decisions you have made.
Openness: As a leader you need to be open to change.
Accomplishment: This is not only something we desire but also the emotional feeling we have when something is finished.
Does your work give you fulfilment?
Best regards, Brian
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