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How do you lead when the internet has all the answers?

How do you lead when the internet has all the answers?

How do you lead when the internet has all the answers? 3 ways you can prevent being replaced (as a leader) by the internet

Photo Credit: Eva Guralnick, UC Davis

*From Trends in 2020 Series*

How do you take the ROI (Return on Investment) of a project? What are the best ways to interact with a challenging co-worker? What should you do if you want to date your boss? What are the steps in project management?

All of these questions could be viewed as basic information… how would you answer them? What guides how you would answer them? Your experience? Or Google?

Expertise in the workplace is quickly being usurped by the phrase “I’ll just Google it”. Don’t know how to interact with that co-worker? Google it, and you’ll find 200,000 ways to do it – without embarrassing yourself by asking anyone. You also get to get a lot of advice – quickly – and pick the ones that work best for you (because come on – Google may be good – but they aren’t necessarily great at picking the advice YOU need at THIS time). Age doesn’t matter – Millennials may be taking over the internet – but they are just more comfortable in using the provided technology. People in all generations have come to rely on their favorite search engine to point them in the right direction. Our attention spans are shrinking, we want it in bite-size pieces and we don’t have time to wait for someone to explain it to us.

So… how do you lead when the internet has all the answers?

1-     Accept. For the most part, this advice goes to those that have lived in the world before the internet and know another life. The 90’s saw the advent of the internet, and 00’s saw the iPhone and its cousins. These two bites of technology have changed almost everything about the workplace landscape- and just like walking home after a long college night – there’s no going back. Projects will become more complicated – and the internet can reduce the levels of complexity by providing answers in real-time. You can engage your team to include the internet AND you as a leader for best results.

2-     Adapt. Businesses must do this. Amazon changes the game for companies on a regular basis. Why are you as an individual any different? Find ways to incorporate the internet into your leadership styles with your team. Encourage them to go there for certain areas- and help them understand where you can better support – such as building a specific team or company culture, developing skill sets unique to your team, etc. Tell them that with the knowledge that’s out there – you’ll continue asking the questions – so go beyond the textbook answers. This is an open book test.

3-     Overcome. When I started out at 22 as a naval officer, both seniority AND experience meant something. The rank and years people had achieved explained the areas they excelled and their ability to contribute to the organization… they literally wore it on their sleeves. Make that experience mean something again.  Help them understand what you have done; what you bring to the table. WIIFM – What’s in it for me…. Teach them how your experiences can better support where they want to go.

It may sound like I’m recommending accommodating them… I’m not. I am saying that there are changes in leadership that have been caused by a competitor – internet access – that drives the need to adapt your strategy. Accept the changes in the role you play – and find ways to overcome them. recommending a new strategy for how you lead – because you now have competition in the war for leadership.

We’re on a mission for better leaders: If you have 5 minutes – please take this short survey, and you’ll automatically be entered to win a $25 Amazon gift card. We will share the results in the next month and those that submit the survey will get a more in-depth report.

So write this down… if you want your leadership to transcend your employee’s need for the internet: Accept, adapt, and overcome.

*YOUR Feedback Requested! What do you think? ….. How have you seen the internet impacting employee’s views/ needs/ interaction with leaders happen in your workplace? What ways have you seen the internet change the way you lead? How have you challenged or overcame the internet’s influence on your leadership in the workplace?

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