Some people assume that, when Reshan Richards and I talk or write about blending leadership, we’re pushing people to use technology more frequently. To set the record straight, we favor technology only when it helps leaders do their jobs in ways that are more human and more joyful. Even efficiency, which can cut out the human all together, should be done with the intention of opening up space and time for richer interactions and more meaningful work.
Here’s a nice example that happens to be a technological example. Recently, I sent an email to one of my Trello boards. Almost immediately, I received an email in return:
I figure this email came from some kind of Trello bot, not a real person — and was triggered automatically. But . . . whoever programmed the exchange demonstrated sound blended leadership. First, he or she solved a reoccurring problem once, and then figured out a way to automate the response. My hope is that this freed up time for Trello to make its great product even better. Second, he or she took the time to interject some personality — “we are impressed by your loquaciousness” — into an otherwise mechanical exchange. Third, and finally, the link in the second paragraph empowers me, as the user, to fix my mistake if it really bothers me.
This is a small (and fine) example of blended leadership in the wild. My book on the subject (coauthored with Reshan) isn’t out until July, but I’ll keep collecting examples as I encounter them in my daily work and life.