None of us can get meaningful work done if we don’t connect. But burnout claims us all at a certain point, and sometimes engaging fully in any real conversation just feels too complicated.
To followers, it might seem we do it on purpose…
but the reality is that no leader in his right mind wants to disengage, no matter what Dilbert (thank you Scott Adams!) mirrors every day in the comics pages.
If you can empathize with Dilbert’s devil of a boss, then you’re burned out. Get out of the office immediately, and go to your desperately needed Vacation, Coach, Therapist, Massage, or Gym!
Burnout aside, most leaders want to connect, not just to get meaningful work done, but to have meaningful relationships with their followers.
The alternative is quite short term; bad or distant relationships mean dealing with change is impossible — and might result in chaos, or an occasional disconcerting mutiny…
The hardest job for leaders now is creating structures and processes to support sustainable change. Engaging fully means connecting with aloha, which means seeing what is, appreciating the human connections that keep everything going, and being willing to heal and challenge the relationships (read processes and structures!) that aren’t working.
Here’s what happens when leaders stay in their offices, managing from a distance without aloha or emotional intelligence:
Here’s what happens when they connect with followers, creating colleagues, citizens and co-workers instead of disengaged peons:
In each of these examples, we now see the company, nation and organization, not the leaders who “made” it happen. We have to think for a moment to remember Steve Jobs, Mahatma Gandhi, and Jimmy Carter (who made Millard and Linda Fuller’s Habitat for Humanity a household word).