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Leaders, put down the BlackBerry! Or else…

Leaders Listen

Great Leaders Listen.

There are some of us (and you know who you are, right?) who are in denial that they are addicted to devices such as BlackBerry’s and iPhone’s. A little while ago I was chastising one of my children for texting while we were having a family discussion. I accused him of being addicted and that it was rude and inconsiderate. I am embarrassed to say that my children quickly reminded me that it was no different from the five times I had pulled out my Blackberry that night during our discussion to check e-mail – touché. I tried to defend myself, but it was seven against one! All I got were blank stares except for a few smirks across their tiny little faces, I really wasn’t convincing anyone.

Leaders in business, church, home or wherever else you may be leading, be careful. Technological distractions and any other distractions for that matter can erode trust quickly and label you as not caring. Several years ago I was sitting in the office of a friend of mine. We were carrying on a pleasant and meaningful conversation, so I thought. All of a sudden, the focus was not on me any more, it was on his computer screen. I sat across the desk, so I couldn’t see what he was looking at, but his hand was moving his mouse at a fairly decent pace as his eyes darted back and forth across the screen. I continued to talk and then realized that it was clear that what I was saying was no longer important to him. After that our relationship was never the same. My trust in him was eroded at that very moment.

I wish I could say this was an isolated event, but it wasn’t. I have been the recipient of distraction and inattention in one on ones with leaders, consulting with executives, and meetings with senior leadership teams etc… etc… Now before you say or think, “Gosh Mike, maybe you’re just kind of boring to listen to,” it’s not just me. I have seen it happen with others who I thought were saying some pretty interesting and important things.

Leaders, be careful. Nothing sends the message that you don’t care more than paying attention to something else besides the person speaking. Nothing sends the message more that what you are saying doesn’t really matter to me, than paying attention to something else besides the person speaking. It is a fact that we have more things to keep us distracted than ever before, but let us ensure that those who follow us know they are important.

Do you have any stories about distractions in meetings or conversations with others you would like to share? We would love to hear them. Please comment below and share.

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