“Leadership is a contact sport”, Marshall Goldsmith, an author and coach, quipped. Online meetings work to get things done, but meeting in person remains vital to maintain the vibrant connections and the tender tissues of the living organism that an organization is.
Online meetings are often transactional and they are lacking the informal connections that foster creativity, allow joint reflection and cement relations amongst colleagues. The spontaneous part of collaboration is all but gone and contacts are much more programmed and planned. There is a risk that over time organizations’ social cohesion erodes, creativity flags and team spirit fades. The stronger the connections are between people, the easier it is for an organization to weather a setback and keep its agility.
Physical meetings, both formal and informal, remain necessary for two reasons. The first is that leaders need to look people in the eye to get the full picture, including unfiltered information about what is really happening in the organization. These in-person meetings will never be fully replaced by online meetings nor by gathering additional data. The second reason is that people are social beings that crave interaction. A lack of personal contact might result in feelings of emptiness and boredom. Meeting in person is necessary to create trust and bonding. That is the main reason that so many can’t wait to return to the office.
This is the seventh leadership lesson drawn from 36 interviews about leadership during and beyond corona. Send us a message if you wish to receive the paper with all eight lessons.