Social Distancing 3.0

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Social Distancing 3.0

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Surely you mean 2.0 with social distancing laws restricting us a second time?

No, I mean 3.0 – how on the back of a second wave of restrictions we might learn from the upside of our enforced attention to social distancing – and be better coming out than going into Covid19.

The most effective leaders “are able to get close to their followers yet, paradoxically, keep their distance” – so say Rob Goffee and Gareth Jones in their 2006 book “Why should anyone be Led by You?” They explain that managing social distance is an art of balancing the needs of intimacy, communication and identity against purpose, empowerment and feedback. Unlike our current laws, their notion of social distancing is not a regulatory obligation, but a relationship tension to be examined and explored.

For Goffee and Jones its conceptual. But today it’s been made to be physical.

I believe there is an upside to this important concept being presented to us physically. As we experience being pushed together (“return to work!”) and pulled apart (“rule of 6!”) we can examine social distancing as a concept too. How can we learn to be intimate at 2 metres? When is it possible to give feedback when on Zoom? What can I do to connect with people in meetings when I’m wearing a mask? Am I limited to social distancing 2.0, or can I learn social distancing 3.0?

We are all currently focusing on the physical. But it’s also a fantastic opportunity for us to experiment with new skills for our leadership – to enhance our sensitivity in our relationship as leaders to those we lead.

What might you do today to examine and explore social distancing 3.0 with your colleagues and friends?

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