Back to Human: It's the title of Dan Schawbel's new book, and the phrase itself implies that we’ve departed from being human toward one another in significant ways. That’s the assumption behind Dan's work. He has devoted his life to studying human interactions and has compiled much of what he’s learned into his new book. He has tremendous insight into how we can be intentional about our human interactions so that they can be optimized for our health as individuals and our success in the workplace.

You won’t want to miss this insightful episode. Dan shares why emotional intelligence is more important than skill competence, what social media and digital communication have done to us as humans in spite of their obvious benefits, and how we can turn things around to benefit ourselves and those on our teams in incredible ways.

Getting “back to human” means understanding that emotional intelligence is more important than technical skill

Think about what is typically looked for when resumes or CVs for open positions are submitted at your company. Typically, the focus is on education and experience. In other words - What has the person accomplished? What skills do they bring to the role for which they are being considered? But is that the right place to look for maximum fit and effectiveness on your team?

Dan Schawbel says that it’s becoming more and more evident that the soft skills we’ve come to describe as “emotional intelligence” have a much greater impact on a person’s fit and effectiveness on a team than do their job-related skills. Why is that? It’s because the relationships within the team underly everything that the team does. If there is tension between team members, the outcomes the team produces will be impacted. That's a relational issue, not a skill issue. Listen to hear Dan share why leaders should focus more on emotional intelligence in themselves and their team members if they really want to move "back to human" in their leadership style.

We are failing to understand and be understood when we only use digital communication

Digital communication has been a great blessing to the world. We now have the ability to connect with others who are across the globe with the click of a button or a few minor keystrokes. But the ease of digital communication has taken some of the humanity out of the WAY we communicate with each other. Statistics are showing that though people are communicating with others more often digitally, the experiences of loneliness and isolation are growing exponentially.

Why is that? It’s because there is something missing in the way we are interacting, and Dan Schawbel says it’s the human component of the relationship. He suggests we do everything we can to increase face to face communication with each other, whether we are connected through a work-related team, as family members, or in a service provider-client relationship. Listen to glean incredible practical advice from what Dan has to share.

How do we express more empathy when we are unable to meet face to face?

Though the ideal way to move back to more human interactions in our digital age is to get face to face with each other as often as possible, it’s not always possible. What can we do to express empathy and care for others when digital means of communication are all we have available?

A simple first step is to take the needed time to sweeten up our email and text interactions. A few moments used to strategically add complimentary or appreciative words can go a long way toward creating connection with the person on the other end of the correspondence and add value to the interaction.

Leaders can enlist and empower remote workers to lead remote meetings. Not only does it communicate trust, it also engages various team members in becoming known by the team and helps them develop confidence and skill - an opportunity most modern workers are looking for.

For larger companies, Dan suggests that leadership creates a budget that enables leaders to travel to remote sites. It’s that important for leaders to stay engaged with the people on their teams by meeting them in person. Another approach would be to use that budget to host a group gathering annually where everyone across the team can come together in one place.

People will work for your company longer if you care for them in a “back to human” way

During our conversation, Dan Schawbel shares the story of a woman who took on a new role at a large corporation when she was young. The transition to the company location was daunting because she was moving from a rural area to a large, metropolitan city. Her manager took her under his wing like one would do for a beloved nephew or friend. The impact was powerful.

The company was IBM, and the young woman has been a part of the team for 10 years so far. She now serves as an executive on the team. Her manager met her human needs before meeting her work-related needs, and the impact was tremendous. People will work for a company longer when leaders express that kind of support, empathy, and care in a variety of ways.

Don’t miss this episode. Dan shares amazing insights that are practical and beneficial to teams and leaders alike.

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:48] Who is Dan, and what does leadership mean to him?
  • [3:20] Why should we apply the “back to human” philosophy?
  • [11:33] How do we foster better empathy when we can’t meet face to face?
  • [15:03] What differences in application are there across genders, countries, etc.?
  • [19:42] What can “C level” execs do to introduce a “back to human” culture?
  • [23:39] How to handle a boss who has a hard time getting back to human?
  • [26:04] Dan’s biggest pieces of advice for those who desire to be masters of leadership

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Erica

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