When Tech Gets Too Much: How to Lead Analogue-Style

I’d like to start this post by confirming that I am, first and foremost, a bit of a geek.  I’ll jump at the chance to buy the latest smartphone or try the newest productivity app and immediately hop on board any passing tech bandwagon.

Despite this, I do have my limits when it comes to technology. Sometimes, it really can get too much.

I’m reminded of this when I head to local, traditional networking events, pick up a pen and paper, or simply take a quiet stroll with my four-legged friend; sometimes, life without technology is absolutely blissful.

If you’re in a position of leadership, it pays sometimes to lead without technology and resort to analogue ways of working.

Here’s how you can do just that.

Start writing again with pen and paper

I’m pretty dreadful at handwriting, but there really is something special about using a pen and notepad in a world where we all too easily head to the notes app on our smartphone or the keyboard of a laptop.

When undertaking team meetings, try walking into the room with nothing but your trusty notebook and pen. It’ll feel liberating and has the added benefit of proving to everyone that you’re there to listen, take notes, and not stare endlessly at your laptop screen.

If, like me, it’s been a while since you practiced the art of writing, there are some great tips you can follow to regain that particular mojo.

Meet in person

I love Skype. I love how it facilitates super-fast meetings no matter where the attendees are located.

It’s just a bit cold when you’re leading a team. It might be convenient, but it’s far nicer and more likely to foster a great working relationship if you focus more on meeting in person.

This is pretty easy to do when you work in the same office; but if you’re a business that largely operates remotely, getting together in a room might be viewed as a chore people would rather dispense with.

Encourage traditional meetings with your team as often as possible -- just make sure you plan them efficiently in advance, to ensure the time is used to maximum effect.

Collaborate in a room

We’re blessed with a raft of digital tools that make collaborating on projects an absolute breeze; but just like Skype, they often remove the all-important human element that’s inherently part of working in a team.

On a project management app, your colleague becomes nothing more than a little avatar that pops up in chat windows and to whom you can assign tasks. This is why occasionally dispensing with such tools and spending time in the same room working with paper, pens, and a good old-fashioned white board is so important.

Write to staff -- don’t email them

Try this for size: next time you need to write to a member of your team, do so with pen and paper and either hand deliver it or have it posted, if they work remotely.

Email is great and still plays a vital role in business, but the lifeblood of a company can be sucked dry if it’s used too much.

Traditional mail is so rare these days it’s a joy to receive -- particularly when it’s a note of thanks from your boss or confirmation that you’re about to receive the pay rise you’ve been hankering for.

Wrapping up

The key to living a happy, successful life as a leader lies in combining the wonderful technology that surrounds us with traditional values that inspire you to, occasionally, put the smartphone or laptop to one side and engage with people directly.