Kaley Klemp is a sought-after facilitator, speaker and coach. She is an expert in small-group dynamics and leadership development. She leads offsites to help teams end drama and instead communicate and interact in ways that achieve their strategic objectives—even in the face of challenging circumstances. She is the author of 13 Guidelines for Effective Teams and co-authored The Drama-Free Office and The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership. Find out more about Kaley at www.kaleyklemp.com.
Since you began as a facilitator, what challenges do work groups face today that are different from when you started?
The global nature and 24/7 schedule of work has only increased since I started facilitating. Taking time for strategic planning, appreciation, and other important activities can get lost in the tyranny of the urgent. Work groups must focus on what is important, not just what is urgent.
Also, tele-commuting and virtual offices are much more common. Face-time has been replaced with video-conferences (at best), or one-way email/text exchanges.
You're an advocate for communicating with candor and developing genuine relationships. How does technology help or hinder your efforts?
I think it's amazing that we now use video in daily conversations, which helps people develop authentic relationships, even over distance. I find some people can use technology to be more honest, but they miss the feedback loop of the other person's response in the moment, which is a part of a genuine relationship. The instantaneous nature of modern communication helps when issues are addressed in rapid-fire exchanges, and hinders when individuals hide behind their screen rather than having face-to-face exchanges.
You spend a lot of time with workplace leadership. What advice would you give leaders for managing the rapid changes in the workplace?
Take the time to invest in your people. A team with high trust and respect navigates change with much more agility and success. Invest in your people—as people. Learn their backgrounds, listen to their stories, encourage them, challenge them, praise them, understand their passions, show you care. This is Leadership 101—in 1914 or 2014.
Do you have any insight on how technology and related trends have altered our relationships—at work and at home? Do you have any personal rules that you live by?
Technology allows us to be available anytime, anywhere. In being attentive to our devices, we can miss the relationships right in front of us. We also miss the space to rest and recharge, which is crucial for creative and innovative thinking. I turn my phone off when I'm in in-person meetings and when I'm at home with my family. I strive to check my email only a few times per day. I find that when I'm not available, if something is truly urgent, people know how to get ahold of me.
You address office drama as part of your training programs. In what ways do you see social media trends fueling drama in work teams?
Social media are great when used for their designated purpose. However, challenging situations and decisions are best handled with a direct conversation. Texts, tweets, and other short communications can lead to misunderstandings that would be avoided with a direct conversation.
Email has been one of the most common forms of communication for at least the last 15 years. What role does it play when you address communication issues with teams?
Like social media, email is great for many things, especially agreements and logistics. And, similarly, any topic with conflict or emotion requires the right process and environment: at least the phone or Skype, if not an in-person meeting.
When you work with teams to build trust and mutual respect, do trends in technology and social interaction play any role?
Trust can be built using any medium, and can be lost in any medium. Taking time to really understand your colleagues and their personalities, and to develop mutual respect facilitates the use of multiple forms of communication.