The Technology Bandwagon in Pulling Away, Am I on it?

As I contemplate the lessons I have learned throughout this course I keep going back to how reluctant I was to even take this class in the first place and how thankful I am that I actually did sign up for it. The reason why I was reluctant to take it was because I made the foolish assumption that I did not need, nor have a desire to embrace technology in my leadership. This sounds silly now two months later to say but it is how I felt at the time. Because my organization lags behind in technology I did not see the value add in taking a course on technology and leadership. I assumed that leading with technology were two separate and not connected items. One of the first articles that I read after I signed up for the class was an article about leadership in a digital world http://www.business2community.com/leadership/digital-leadership-leadership-digital-world-01100076#CKslwjAIHpyfCTE2.97. I read this because I wanted to try and gain a better understanding about how leadership has changed due to technology, and if I was being impacted by it even though I didn’t think I was.

Despite my initial thoughts about technology not impacting me in my work I now know better. Even though my organization does not embrace technology many of the concepts that leadership is adopting to lead through the digital age revolve around teamwork, flexibility, and communication. Despite these items always being around in the world of leadership, with the advent of technology they are more important than ever because of the manner in which the new generation of worker expects to be communicated with http://www.businessinsider.com/study-reveals-expectation-gap-between-managers-and-their-workers-2013-9. Despite the workers expectations, being open and available to change requires adaptation technologically. What has changed the most in my leadership style through this course is my understanding that I must be an adaptable leader http://firstround.com/review/the-adaptable-leader-is-the-new-holy-grail-become-one-hire-one/ and wiling to be more flexible if I want to succeed and lead successfully for many years to come. Being more adaptable means far more than embracing technology, which is important, but more importantly is the growth that I experienced knowing that in order to be successful as a leader I must lead through areas that I know little about, such as technology and be willing to learn about them and embrace the changes in the digital age.

A the class and this blog draw to a close I am left with the sinking feeling that in the digital age I must start to embrace technology and changes before it is too late, but is it already? Mark Zuckerberg has been quoted as saying that “young people are just smarter” and http://www.fastcompany.com/3051030/the-future-of-work/is-27-the-tech-worlds-new-middle-age and to an extent he may be right. People in my age group are viewed by many younger workers as being behind in the digital age and lacking the knowledge to be able to properly lead younger workers https://www.joanlloyd.com/HR-Issues/Older-workers,-younger-bosses—it-s-a-mix-that-ca.aspx. This disconnect between the generations seems to be growing because of the lack of adaptation to technology by many older leaders and workers http://www.forbes.com/sites/rogertrapp/2015/10/26/leaders-need-to-embrace-the-digital-revolution-but-be-wary-of-technologys-limitations/#39d42a153455. If I am going to be successful in the mid and later stages of my career I need to start to jump on the technology bandwagon and get with the times because I feel if I don’t I will be waving at it after it has run me over and  left me in the dust.

-A

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10 thoughts on “The Technology Bandwagon in Pulling Away, Am I on it?

  1. A,
    A,

    I concur with you assessment, as I also thought I did not need to embrace technology as a part of my leadership. I learned, however, that I cannot ignore how the Internet is changing the workplace. As Martin (2015) suggests, leaders have an obligation to enhance productivity and employee engagement by modifying the traditional work hierarchy, which prevents the majority of employees from truly engaging in problem-solving. This is achieved, for example, by providing a digital or physical place for workers to come together to brainstorm and explore (Martin, 2015). The leader is also obligated to seek technological means to assist employees in the performance of their duties while also expanding their critical thinking skills by connecting with like-minded professionals on the Web.

    Chris

    Reference

    Martin, M. (2015, December 4). A deep dive into thinking about 21st century leadership. Retrieved from http://www.michelemartin.com

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  2. Hi A,
    I admire your honesty in this post as you have reflected on your decision to take this class, the lessons you have learned, and your attitude towards embracing technology at this point. I found this quote by Nathaniel Braden (http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/n/nathanielb163773.html) that states ” the first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance”.
    It seems you were aware that you had not really engaged in technology prior to and while you were going through this course which prompted you to explore the topics and application to your professional practice at a high level. Now, as we are finishing the course, you seem to have successfully moved on to step 2 and which is crucial to moving forward in a positive direction. Keep exploring and pushing yourself! I have enjoyed working with you through out this journey.
    Kristin

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    1. Kristin-
      I have been in a couple of classes with you so far and I always like seeing your name on the class roster because I know I will be challenged, this class was no exception. Thank you for the kind thoughts and validation, self-awareness is something I try and work on every day because it makes me better for myself and others.

      -A

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  3. Nice post, A. i would suggest that it is never too late to try new things…and as you noted, this course and what is occurring in the workplace has less to do with technology than it has to do with culture…a culture of networked people teaming for mission accomplishment. Being open has technological implications but philosophical ones as well.

    I have enjoyed learning from you this term. Best of luck in your academic and leadership challenges ahead!

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  4. There are two aspects of your posting that are resonating with me, and those are leaderships’ obligation to be adaptable and leading in areas where we may feel uncomfortable. I definitely echo your sentiment and recognize that waiting to manage the issue might just be fear of looking under the hood and finding a bigger problem. Under normal circumstances we may just wait until forced to act because the problems we have created through inaction far outweigh the fear of what we may uncover. The implication of your posting reveals the course has made us aware of the problem under the hood by forcing us to look at it before the problem becomes insurmountable.

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    1. A and Cam, the dialogue occurring regarding the post sparked a thought! When coaching early childhood educators I share with others it is a delicate process moving an individual from unconsciously incompetent to consciously incompetent and then unto conscious competence. It can be hard to move forward when you do not know what you need to know. Thought I am a millennial and digital native this course has provided a reminder that a leader is obligated (as you stated Cam) to intentionally seek out new knowledge, incorporate new skills, and think about how they include technology.

      Perhaps someday in your team A, there will be an individual who excels at tech (that may be you after this course!) and the team instead of seeing it as a challenge sees it as an opportunity for collaboration. Likewise, across generations there is a need to share knowledge so that everyone benefits in increasing their own personal knowledge network. Thank you for you post.

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  5. I do not agree with Mr. Zuckerberg this generation is not any smarter than us; it is just that they have the advantage of growing up with technology. The disconnect comes from other generations lagging behind in embracing technology. Research now shows older American use of social media is increasing (Loechner, 2015). Do not worry about feeling a little out of touch with the ever-changing world of technology many of us are right there with you. Have a wonderful weekend.

    Reference

    Loechner, J. (2015). 65% of all American adults using social media. Retrieved from http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/260648/65-of-all-american-adults-using-social-media.html

    Sheila

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  6. I might suggest you are already using technology and on the train! Whether it is this blog or blueline or likely a number of other devices in your life you are a technology user. With use comes comfort and a sense of competence (and then of course, it changes!). You noted that leaders need to get in sync with the younger generation and how they like to be communicated with, and I would agree. I also think we need to continue to connect with the other generations, which prefer other modes. Thus, your point of adaptability and flexibility comes in. It is not just the younger generation leaders need to connect with – all generations are fully in the workforce. Imagine the difficulty of a young techy person attempting to lead a boomer or older generation! Finally, the beauty of the internet is that all opinions are welcome – thus, Mark Zuckerberg’s statement is only his opinion – put those smart young people (or even himself) in another context without technology and he may have to change his opinion. Leaders know that every individual has talents and gifts, helping uncover and guiding those is a leadership act. Best wishes as you go forward!

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  7. The door is open for you to embrace the innovative nature of technology. Your organization may not be open to the digital age yet, but as a leader of digital native workers, you are ready to face and accept the challenges that will occur. You know the importance of adaptation and the prospect of adopting web 2.0 tools for the betterment of your organization will not be feared.

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