Why leaders need to learn to love technology

by  Rebecca Leitch  |  Leadership Development
Bridging the technology gap

Students, recent graduates and those new to the workplace have grown up in the digital age, and as a result think nothing of spending around two hours on their smartphones, using an average of six apps a day.

This ‘Generation Y’ doesn’t have to adapt to new ways of working or learning, they do it instinctively.

But just because this generation are way ahead in their appreciation of technology, they still very much need leading in the traditional sense.

This could be an issue when you consider that at present, not all leaders are going to be able to communicate on the same level, if the void in their appreciation for technology remains.

Business leaders of today need to take note – especially before this generational gap gets too big to close.

Otherwise, when this generation advances through the workforce in the next few years, they will have to adjust to a very different, less instinctive way of working.

Mutual appreciation

Technology doesn’t substitute for experienced leadership, but a leader’s ability to influence might well be limited if they continue to ignore the new ways of working that the majority of young people now embrace.

Therefore, the new challenge for business leaders is how to drive change forward by using technology, and in doing so attract the best new talent.

It is more about facilitating change, by listening to what the younger generation of employees can tell you about how they are already using technology.

By paying attention now to how this generation approach their work/life balance, businesses will be able to harness these technological solutions, and thereby increase productivity and efficiency.

Mobile working

The right mobile technology can really improve and enhance ways of working – as well as the quality of life for employees – if you let it.

Similar to the idea behind bite size learning, managing work in chunks of time is the key. The good news is that in almost all cases, technology has been developed to perform in a way that is simple, efficient and easy to use.

Devices for smartphones and tablets are already enabling employees to collaborate, share knowledge and tap into valuable resources like mentoring.

You can’t halt progress, and you certainly wouldn’t want to restrict it – but as a leader there are things you still need to do to ensure that technology is accessible, used in an appropriate manner, meets its potential and keeps data safe and secure.

There will continue to be challenges – but by facing them head on rather than ignoring them and hoping they go away, employers and leaders can continue to influence change for the better.

By setting up new regulations and becoming expert facilitators, leaders will continue to do what they are good at – enabling their business and employees to grow and flourish.

Technological advances will only continue to find ways to enhance a businesses’ potential, something the ‘mobile generation’ undoubtedly already knows.

So go straight to the horse’s mouth, ask Generation Ys what you need to know and find out for yourselves – as well as for your company.



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About The Author

Articles By rebecca-leitch
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What People Are Saying

Mike Henry  |  17 Sep 2013  |  Reply

Rebecca, thanks so much for the great first post! We’re glad to have you as an author and member of the community.

This is a great reminder of our need to learn from people who are different than we are. Now if I could just remember that when I’m interacting with them! Thanks again. Mike…

Rick Coltman  |  17 Sep 2013  |  Reply

Rebecca, great points in your article. Leaders should carrying this motto, “Always Be Learning!” Whether the topic be technology, operations, marketing, or people. I learn something new everyday, and I anticipate it more than ever. Thank you for the reminder. Rick

Mary C Schaefer  |  17 Sep 2013  |  Reply

Rebecca, you said so much in this simple phrase, “It is more about facilitating change…”

Such a big part of leadership, no matter what the task at hand.

Congrats on a great inaugural post at LCG!

Susan Mazza  |  18 Sep 2013  |  Reply

Picking up on the theme of “leaders facilitate change”, there is also another opportunity in the willingness to embrace technology – you are quickly reminded of how challenging change can be. As you rise through the ranks it can be easy to get lulled into relying on what you know and expecting others to adapt to the way you work. Yet technology seems to have created a gap in communication context and practices. You can’t teach people (and there is much for the unless you can reach them and that requires you to meet them where they are. I am left wondering if technology has somehow increased the natural generational gap. I hear many leaders lamenting the poor communication skills of recent grads for example. Yet do those recent grads even realize this gap in themselves?

Great topic. Great article. Thanks Rebecca!

Angela Acuna  |  20 Sep 2013  |  Reply

Thanks for this article! We love to see leaders embrace the opportunities online learning can provide for employees, followers, etc. Leaders are slowly catching on that they can reach so many more by taking their knowledge to an online format. I’m excited to see how we jump from online to mobile learning moreso in the future!

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