Learning to be a leader is a lifelong task. Not only are there new lessons to constantly be learned about working with and leading people, but there are also new tools being constantly developed to help leaders manage their lives and businesses better. Here are some ways leaders can use tech to advance their businesses and their leadership.
From Skype to Slack to e-mail, there is an almost unlimited number of ways in the digital age for leaders and teams to stay in contact. But the same tools that foster communication can also hinder it as well. Here are some ways the tools that foster communication can quickly become a liability.
- Too many lines of communication: You send an e-mail to a department manager who then requests information from an employee on Slack. The employee responds via an instant message and the manger responds to you via text message. Search features are one of the great time-savers of apps and programs like e-mail and Slack, but they are completely wasted if you are using multiple means of communication.
- Over-communication: The ability for everyone to send company-wide emails means inboxes full of emails about the refrigerator in the break room being cleaned or someone finding a missing jacket.
A Samurai would never allow his sword to be used to slice carrots in a kitchen.
Save company-wide communication for things that really matter and create a digital company bulletin board for all the rest.
Automation and AI
It seems to be a never-ending concern of mankind that machines will take away jobs. Instead, automation takes on tasks that don’t require thought or imagination, which frees up human worker to explore, experiment and innovate.
Where once Henry Ford used workers to assemble cars, they are now largely assembled by machines – freeing up workers to invent air bags, catalytic converters and even seat belts. Here are some ways automation can help you increase productivity and boost your bottom line.
- Keep your consumer base informed: Like the old saying goes – out of sight, out of mind. Automation allows you to always make sure your customers don’t go more than a few days without an e-mail or more than a few hours without a tweet or social media post. No matter how large or small your business, automation can ensure you always stay front and center in the public eye.
- Provide advanced feedback on marketing efforts: While marketing and advertising are important, e-mail and social media campaigns offer something media and print ads never will: interaction.
Traditionally, it has been impossible to know not only who is actually seeing your ads, but most importantly, who is responding to them. The internet and advanced analytics can give you a far more comprehensive picture of what is working and what is not, allowing you to tweak and tinker to perfection.
From apps that can track your screen time to calendars that can take information directly from an e-mail and create an appointment, there are a wide range of tech tools available to help busy leaders stay organized and on track. Here are two ways tech can help you stay productive.
- Minimize distractions: The idea of multi-tasking making you more productive has largely been debunked. The truth is, you will accomplish your best work free of distractions and technology can help. From noise-cancelling headphones to virtual receptionists that can answer your phone when you need to be away from it, tech can help minimize distractions to help you focus on doing your best work.
- Integrate your life: Much has been made of both the importance of work-life balance and the impossibility of truly achieving it. The truth is, however, we all have a business and personal life and both are important.
Powerful task management apps like Trello can help you create business and personal calendars and to-do lists for both yourself and your teams that helps synch the many moving pieces and parts of your life.
Adaptability may be one of the most important traits of a leader. Good leaders are never content to rest on their laurels, but are always pushing forward, innovating and overcoming any obstacles in their path. This is particularly important since almost no day will go by without presenting some type of challenge. No matter what type of challenge you face, it’s a safe bet someone is working on some type of tech to help meet that same challenge in the future.