Building relationships takes time, not technology
Posted by Molly Wendell // in Blog
We live in a world of online communication. What seemed like such a technological breakthrough is on the verge of creating a human breakdown. I love technology and embrace most of it, but when technology gets in the way of actually having a conversation, it’s time to say enough is enough.
People have embraced technology because of its efficiencies. In the workplace, people email, instant message, and text all day long. Sound efficient? Absolutely. Is it effective? Not so much.
It reminds me of what Stephen Covey said in the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: “While you can think in terms of efficiency in dealing with time, a principle-centered person thinks in terms of effectiveness in dealing with people.”
Here’s the problem. When you default to technology for interaction too quickly and too often, you’ll typically find that the only time there’s an actual conversation, complete with voice, inflection, tone, and body language, is when the interaction has escalated into conflict. If you haven’t given the relationship the personal touch and the time and attention it needs and deserves on which to build a solid foundation, the likelihood of a conflict is a very real outcome.
If you’re lacking the most basic elements of a relationship, how can interactions based on a shaky foundation be pleasant? Now ask yourself this: If this is your employee culture—one that defaults to technology too quickly and too often—what are the relationships truly like? I’ll tell you what they are like all too often. Toxic.
The good news is that this behavior is easily fixed, but it definitely takes discipline. Imagine responding to almost every email, instant message, and text with a phone call or an in-person conversation.
Will it take some extra time? Sure.
Will your co-workers think you’re nuts? Probably.
Will they get tired of you calling when you could’ve replied electronically? Perhaps.
But here’s what you’re doing. You’re secretly laying the groundwork for a real relationship, the kind of relationship that builds over time, the kind of relationship you’ll continue to have because you’ve invested so much time into it. Basically, the kind of relationships that we all had at work years ago. The kind of relationship that tends to last a long time…maybe even a lifetime.