#129- Ditch the Email
John (Intro): I have been on a quest to learn everything I can about leadership obsessed with what makes the best leaders so good. After running companies small and large for the last 20 years, today I speak on stages all across the world to audiences who are interested in that same question. My name is John Laurito and I’m your host. I invite you to join me on this journey as we explore this topic: What makes the best leaders so good? Welcome to Tomorrow’s Leader.
John: All right, welcome to today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader, where we dive deep on all things leader-related, related to leading yourself and leading others. I’m John Laurito, your host. So I want to talk today about a Greek concept right now, which applies to everybody, and that is as leaders, one of the things we’re missing in this whole virtual world, rather, that we’re living in is the ability to actually have physical contact and deal with people. I don’t know about you, but it drives me bonkers. I don’t mind the Zoom unless it’s just a Zoom day from start to finish. It’s better than a phone call, but there’s nothing like getting in a group of people. I can’t tell you how much I love just shaking hands or put my hand on somebody’s shoulder, whatever. Give them a hug. I mean, I’m a people guy. I like that stuff.
John:And there’s actually chemical reactions that happen when we’re around people. It’s oxytocin, which is basically a chemical that’s released when we have friendships and love and trust. And that comes from being with people. And that comes actually when you hug
somebody, you hold extra long and you feel that just great feeling. That’s what that is. That’s oxytocin being released in your system. So there’s a chemical reaction there that we’re all missing. We’re missing that. We’re missing the dopamine effect and the endorphins and all the chemical stuff that happens when we have positive interactions and all that kind of good stuff.
John: So what do we do about it? You know, what is really critical is we can’t rely on that. The texting and the email. And I see the one mistake I see and I was just talking to somebody the other day who shared this story with me. She said, you know, I thought, she said she was working with somebody who was an attorney in her company and for, I guess a couple of years, and they had never actually met. They had only interacted over email and text and which actually, believe it or not, as is the case for a lot of people and a lot of companies, especially if you’re not physically in the same office, even before the pandemic. And she said it, you know, I always had this opinion that I didn’t like him because he was always kurt really just abrupt on emails and everything like that. And she said, when I finally met him, we had a conference and I finally met him. Wow. Could I have not been more wrong? I could not have been more wrong. This person was like warm, warm, gregarious, open, you know, just very approachable. And it was interesting. She said, I never would have known that that was just and it’s funny because I kind of joked around with it about him and he didn’t even know he was. So it was just a blind spot for him. He just didn’t know that was his way of doing text messages.
John: And I know a lot of people like that. I do that, too, sometimes. My emails are short. My emails, the reason my emails are short is I can’t type. I suck at typing. I miss the class way back when in school where you learn how to type. I never did. So I do the one pick finger up, up, up, up. I can do pretty fast, but I can’t, for me to do a long email. Wow. You know, I’ve
got some friends and colleagues that do a phenomenal job of email and I mean but they’re long. Number one, I can’t read a real long email, but I can’t write one. So don’t take that as me not having an interest. They just, it takes me a long time. So, yes, your three paragraph
email might get responded with a two sentence email from me. I’d rather talk to you. I’d rather see you, of course. But sometimes people can take that the wrong way. So my point is, any time never handle a conflict in an email or text even that a phone, bring the people together, get together. There’s so many things that can happen. It’s amazing when friendships breed cooperation. I mean, even, you know, you’ve got even politicians. We don’t do a great job of this now, of course.
John: But I remember times where a Democrat and a Republican would get together and actually have a friendship. And there was some camaraderie there and it actually allowed them to get some stuff done, believe it or not, because there was actually a relationship there that was bread because they were physically together or they spent some time together. So it’s amazing what kind of walls you can knock down when you just spend a little bit of time with people. And again, now we’re going to do our best. But I think we’re coming out of this pandemic at some point in the not too distant future, which will allow us to get back in physical touch with people and see people. But there’s nothing like just putting a, you know, seeing somebody’s face.
John: So when you are dealing and you’re leading an organization, I have leaders that run meetings with 20, 30, 50, 100 people on it, that granted you get so many people on it, sometimes it’s hard to do, but have people turn on their cameras. I mean, there’s nothing worse than talking out there, and you just got a bunch of empty space. I feel so sorry for our teachers out there because I know you can’t ask the kids to turn on the cameras. I have my own viewpoints on that, but you’re talking into a black hole, I mean, I don’t know how you do it. I do a lot of presentations. And for me to do that, you know, I’m speaking right now to a camera and a microphone. It’s tough. You’ve got no visual feedback. It’s really tough. And when you’re speaking to a live audience, one thing if you’re taping something, but if you’re speaking to a live audience, you need that visual feedback, the non-verbal cues, whatever you need to be able to look into somebody’s eyes.
John: So as a leader when you’re communicating to an organization, realize the power of putting your camera on, having people see your face, your smile, your eyes, your facial expressions, your movements, your gestures. All that is really important, especially in building trust, making people feel safe, making people feel secure. It’s really tough to get them to buy into a big, bold vision when they’re just hearing your voice on a phone or they’re just reading an email. I don’t know, not many emails that got me all jazzed up. There’s a lot of leaders that I’ve heard talk and it’s got me all excited and passionate and motivated. But I can’t say I’ve read an email where I’ve read the email and said, wow, I’m ready to charge up the hill. I mean, that was incredible. That just lit my fire. It doesn’t happen.
John: Same thing with a text. How many times have you gotten a text where you have misread the text? Maybe it was a friend or someone in your relationship or a loved one, a husband, wife, kids, where you were put off by their response and then you confronted them about it. And they’re like, no, that’s not what I meant. I wasn’t angry or whatever. We take things out of context all the time. It’s hard to do that when it’s in person. It’s easy to do that over email or over text. So, again, my point is, as a leader, your job is to bring people
together, do whatever you can to bring people together. In this time and age, we’ve got to do it over and over virtual meetings. That’s fine. That’s the best we can do. But do that as much as possible and break the reliance on emails and texts and carrier pigeon or whatever you’re doing.
John: So. All right. I hope that was helpful. Quick thoughts. Quick, quick one today for you and I will be back. I got tons more lined up, but I’m always interested in your feedback. I got so many stories I want to share with you. I’m just trying to figure out how to fit them all into different topics. So if you’ve got your stories, your issues, your challenges or funny stuff, whatever, just let me know. I’d love to bring it into one of these podcasts and who knows, maybe I’ll have you on as a guest.
John: If it’s a really good story, I’d love for you to share, bring you on as a guest. You don’t even have to do a full episode with me. I’ll just bring you on maybe for a couple of minutes, if that’s all you want. Whatever. OK, it’ll be open mic day, open mic night on Tomorrow’s Leader. So that’s a pretty cool idea. All right, everybody, thanks for joining. I hope you liked it. Make sure you subscribe. Give the thumbs-up, comments. Go down below five-star rating, all that kind of good stuff. Have a good one.
John (Closing): Thanks for joining us on today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader. For suggestions, or inquiries, about having me at your next event, or personal coaching, reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org Once again, that’s email@example.com. Thanks! Lead on!