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How has the role of technology impacted leader / follower relationships in the workplace?

Guest Author: Christopher S. Nickin, Graduate Student, Madonna University

Technology has had a huge impact on the workplace and how business is conducted all around the world. It has given us access to new markets, new collaborative methods with people around the world, it has streamlined certain functions within the workplace, organized the workplace setting, helped with cost management, enabled workers and companies to be more productive and so much more. But there has also been a dark side to technology in the workplace.

Technology has replaced the human worker in factories and made certain positions obsolete across all different types of industries. It has given us the ability to work from anywhere and at any time, but it has also caused us to have to work from anywhere and at any time to keep competitive or keep our jobs. Technology has removed the barrier of being off the clock, which may be good for the boss or company but has not been good for the employees. Technology has also made it possible to work and never see the people you work with. For some this might be seen as a good thing, but it has broken down our ability to communicate face to face.

Technology has impacted just about every aspect of our lives, but technology in the workplace has changed the dynamic of the world in ways we have yet to even understand. A leader no longer needs to see their followers to lead. In fact, they no longer need their employees to be at the work place to give them a task. Although most people are not paid once they leave the office, that doesn’t stop them from feeling like they need to answer an email sent by their supervisors or leaders at 9 pm on a Saturday night, out of fear that they won’t be seen in a good light if they aren’t always on top of it. The simple ability to be able to reach anyone at any time has caused people to forget how to shut it off once in a while.

Technology, although it has done a lot of great things and continues to help the workplace grow and prosper, has also caused a lot of burnt out employees. Technology has inadvertently disrupted and hurt the mental health of followers, the family structure of people who can’t walk away from work and caused leaders to forget that they need to be less intrusive into their follower’s lives.

Face to face interaction is a good thing, and allows followers to trust their leadership. Staring at a screen that sends orders down from on-high causes followers to lose faith in our leadership and forget why they chose to follow those leaders outside of receiving a pay check.

Being present allows for people to be accountable for their actions, leaders and followers alike. Being present also allows you to leave. Going to work, meeting with the right people, having face to face time with our leaders allows us all to feel more accomplished and when we go home at night, we understand that it is our time now. If we never see each other and can just send messages back and forth, we forget that the person needs to have time to unwind and relax with family.

 

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position of Coeus Creative Group. Assumptions made within the analysis are not reflective of the position of Coeus Creative Group.

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