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Leadership Notes -- Thoughts on Leading People and Making a Difference in Organizations

Word count this issue: 406

Estimated reading time:  2:45 minutes

 

Well the polar vortex is providing clear blue skies and cold temperatures here on the Sunshine Coast of BC. We are in the midst of projects with clients and getting the house set up for the Christmas break. I’ve been thinking recently about connectivity.

 

You may have thousands of followers on social media, but that does not mean that you are connected. To be truly connected to another person in the digital (r)evolution, we need to make some conscious choices about the the nature and quality of the connections we are making. And for all of our connections through media and devices, our brains are wired for face to face communication. Simply put the more face time you have with another person, the more likely the two of you will be in each other’s in-group. Think for example how easy it is to have a mean spirited “shouting match” with a total stranger on social media. In part, that is because they are not part of your “in group.”  The evolutionary biologist Robin Dunbar suggests that we can ‘know’  (they are in our in-group) about 150 people. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2013-01-10/the-dunbar-number-from-the-guru-of-social-networks . You can manage that number up or down a bit, but it seems we are wired to max at about 150 people in our ‘tribe.’ After that we start to form break away groups and silos.

 

For many of us though, the 150 people who are in our in-group look and sound like us. One of the challenges is that we can fall into a group think trap. If you want innovation and creativity, you need to have diversity.

 

I see the three main elements for strong in-group diversity; respect, safety and fairness. We’ll look at each one over the next few weeks.

 

Respect

 

We all need to feel that we have value and are an integral part of the group. That value is exhibited in our mutual regard. Respect is entirely reciprocal; if you want respect from another person, you have to respect them first. See out common ground, look to the gifts they bring to the team, and to your work.

 

 

May you respect more and be respected more this week.