It is important to remember that technology does not connect us. Our relationships connect us, and once we know the person or team, then we use technology to stay connected. We share knowledge because we are in relationships, not because we have broader bandwidth available. (Finding Our Way, Wheatley p.153)
As leaders we need to make sure we ground ourselves in connections. The relationships we build with our staff, as well as other colleagues from near and far, are what allows us to grow and make a difference. We are only as good as the team we build. Technology, as wonderful as it is, cannot take the place of face-to-face contact with our team.
Recently I had a conversation with a wonderful educator who said that as a high school social studies teacher she feels her main goal is to give her students practice in formulating ideas and expressing them. Talk about an essential skill: exposing students to time for learning, self-reflecting, formulating their own connections/ideas and then expressing them to their peers. This also allows everyone in the class to be exposed to different ideas that may contradict or support their views and values.
I speak often to our teachers about the ‘luxury of time’. Time to think, time to reflect, time to talk, plan and learn from each other. Time. One of the things that you hear we don’t have… If only I had time to read more, time to write more, time to brainstorm ideas, time to think, time to talk and share with others. On this, the second day of the new year, I think the resolution of the year should be to stop thinking about time as a luxury that we have to be given special but more as a gift we give to ourselves. Something we control. We need to give ourselves this time to reflect and think. We can then use that reflection time as an advantage, sharing this time with our family, friends and colleagues so we can all grow smarter, kinder and even more reflective.
We have to face the difficult fact that until we claim time for reflection, until we make space for thinking, we won’t be able to generate knowledge, or to know what knowledge we already possess. We can’t argue with the clear demands of knowledge creation–it requires time to develop. It matures inside human relationships. (Wheatley, p.154)
To read more about Finding Our Way: Leadership For an Uncertain Time check out the book by that name by Margaret J. Wheatley. (2007)