Technology has revolutionized most things, except the art of authentic communication. Have we lost our desire to have deep, meaningful conversations to favor superficial emojis as everyone works with a sense of urgency? Each generation has struggled to communicate while finding meaning, purpose, and economic stability throughout human existence. As a trusted millennial executive who has worked with top CEOs, I've discovered this one universal truth that will help managers today, as every generation struggles in answering this simple question, "How are you doing?"
Why Simple Questions Are Really Hard
Simple questions are really hard to answer today because people's brains are on a hamster wheel spinning around - ping, swipe, like, right? Cognition is the process of acquiring knowledge through thought, experience, and senses. While humans from a functional level can process hundreds of things each minute, our soul cannot. When our mind is jumbled with noise, we lose the depth of our highest consciousness and find it hard to answer meaningful questions articulated by psyche.
Lose Your Inner-Child, Lose Your Voice
You were born an inquisitive child with natural intuition, drive, and the ability to communicate. Somewhere along the way, you believed the stories your parents taught you, the fear the media put in you, the ego of an athlete your coach instilled in you, and the noise from everyone around you as you let their projection become your truth. Add-in today's smart phone technology addiction that is running many lives, we arrive at a place where the human soul is wobbling. Voila, your belief system is here and so is that promotion to manage people!
Technology's information overload does not equal an abundance of wisdom, it just adds more layers of confusion to people's belief system. Through my own journey gaining wisdom at an early age, I will revert us back to childhood for one second. As a child, you were direct in what you wanted, needed, and demanded. Why did you lose this as an adult? Quit thinking, let's start moving. Your inner-child will speak truth when you are asked that simple question - "How are you doing?" Go ahead, let him or her speak - if you listen, the voice might say, "I'm awesome, I'm scared, I'm hurt, I'm hungry, I'm pissed OK, or I want you to appreciate me."
Why I Don't Care If You're Busy
Daily, I ask every person before me this one simple question, "How are you doing?" Guess what? Very few respond from their soul, and most, reply with nothing short of what an emoji could tell me - "I'm busy." Digging deeper, I ask, "Does busy mean good or bad?" Sound the privacy invasion alarm! Warning, Warning, Warning, this man before me is now going too deep - deep to a place that I don't even know anymore.
I don't care if you are busy, because being busy has nothing to do with you! Let me say it again, being busy has nothing to do with you.
Busy is a task and by definition it means you're occupied. So occupied in your own thoughts you are unable to connect with a live human being right before you.
Why Busy Isn't An Answer Great Managers Accept
Transactional managers view employees as their greatest cost, so hearing that their people are busy is music to their mind. Transformational managers understand the need for transactional behavior to meet metrics, but dig deeper to understand what motivates, inspires, and drives their greatest asset. Great managers will never accept busy for an answer because great managers know the importance of authentic connection.
Great managers understand that people need to pay their bills as adults, yet deep within, is a free spirit who wants to find itself through the facade of corporate dress codes, meeting schedules, and company kool-aide pouring another layer of what to believe onto the human soul.
Exceptional managers realize that time is the greatest gift, and for every hour their people are at work under their leadership, they are trading time away from exercise, aging parents, sick children, community issues, social advocacy campaigns, and things more meaningful than the job you provide them. For most, work is work, until people self-actualize passion, talent, skill, and market needs to live life full of vitality - the highest level according to Maslow's hierarchy of needs.
Busy Isn't The Purpose Of Life
Authentic managers know one universal truth. The purpose of life is to learn how to love yourself so you can learn how to love others.
When I work with organizations, we breakdown old beliefs that do not serve employees well while people learn to hold a safe space in meetings by accessing vulnerability, trust, and communication skills. Senior leaders learn from entry level employees and are reminded what it's like starting out while junior employees learn what managers are responsible for on those daily conference calls. In all, we learn that it's vital to our team's success to take a moment answering this not so simple question, "How are you doing?"with a real response so we can support team members wherever they're at on their journey.
Will you take a moment and let me know how you are doing today?