How do highly analytical or technologically advanced personnel communicate with other, non-tech-savvy team members? As we balance people and technology, it becomes even more important to maintain positive leadership techniques to improve interpersonal interactions. Managing people is a unique skill and, even if someone has a strong knowledge of a company’s products or services, that may not translate from a managerial perspective.
But the conversation doesn’t stop there. As millennials enter the workforce, we also need to ramp up our familiarity with the exponentially developing technology they use (and require) everyday.
Ann Bailey: We have really smart people. I mean, they’re really smart people. There’s a gentleman that I was interacting with in a program last week and he’s been with our company 34 years. He’s only been managing people for the last 14 months in his entire career. So when you weigh 34 years of dealing with widgets, and now he’s got 14 months of people, he really feels like he’s over his head because he has more experienced with widgets than he does with people. So one of the things we’re working with is soft skills. How does he have conversations? How does he deal with different personalities? How does he deal with the different generations?
I did not grow up with technology. I remember when we went from DOS to windows and suddenly we had this mouse thing. And so I see a lot of us moving towards technology very quickly, forgetting that we still have five or six generations in the workforce. And so we’re moving towards technology and we still don’t have a lot of the old dogs like myself that are embracing it. Yet we’re quickly moving that way because millennials are coming right up behind us that are addicted to technology. So I see the challenge is how do I balance being with people, balance the technology? Because it’s really all about how we interact with and manage people.
A lot of managers were really good at what they did as individual contributors. So naturally an organization promotes them, but they don’t ever teach them how to interact with people. Getting them in soft skills, people skills, as quickly as possible. Put them in scenarios where they’ve got a safe ability to learn the skill and fail safely and then figure out how they can redo it and go, “Oh, that didn’t go very well. What should I have done?” And then give them the ability to relearn that, role play, scenarios, videos that then gives them the ability to test it and fail and then try it again and be successful.