Technology kills leadership says Stockland MD

by 01 Dec 2009

Dependence on technology and too much emphasis on figures can kill leadership and intuition, believes Matthew Quinn, managing director of Stockland.

Speaking at a Directioneering breakfast on leadership held in Sydney last week, Quinn said that many employees now need everything to be evidence-based and focus too much on power point presentations, graphs and figures, and spreadsheets.

“I’m a great believer in numbers but it is abused,” he said. “There is an over-precision with many people’s thinking and a reluctance to use their gut instinct.”

Instead, he said, employees should not rely too heavily on technology because it stifles real thinking, question asking and problem solving, adding people needed to move away from the security blanket of technology and power point presentations.

“There is an over-complication of communication,” he said. “When somebody is presenting to me, for example, I would ask them to turn off the power point and just tell me it as it is. I would prefer them to look me in the eye and tell me, simply, what they are doing and why they are doing it.”

On the other hand, he said, the good thing about technology is that it makes people more accountable because it breaks down the barriers to reaching leaders.

“If I say something, or do something in the organisation – within 30 seconds to a minute it can be around the entire organisation,” he said. “So if I’m doing something wrong – or, on the other hand, doing nothing – people will not stand for it.” Technology, he said, has therefore erased the myth of the leaders in the organisation being elusive.


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