Impact of Smartphones on Leadership

When Ahmed Ali Shah conquered parts of Northern India in early 18th century, he appointed Nadir Shah to administer these provinces. Nadir was provided full autonomy and the intervention by the Ahmed Shah was minimal. Nadir Shah had the trust of his leader and he enjoyed full autonomy with respect to his provinces. Had he possessed a smart phone back then, he would have poked by Ahmed Shah to update on a day to day affairs every evening. This would have restricted Nadir Shah’s freedom of decision making and hindered his leadership potential.

Around 30 Crs. of Indians possess smartphones and it will exponentially increase due to the advent of companies like Reliance Jio. Benefits in terms of access to information and entertainment are palpable but the impact on psychology is not. The ready-made availability of data is making our brains weaker. Instead of recollecting the stored information, we could easily access the data through Google. This reduces our cognitive abilities and decreases our brain’s potential. Excessive usage of smartphones makes a person emotionally weaker. 9 out of 10 students in an Australian University felt stressed when their battery is about to die.

On an average, a person checks his/her mobile 110 times per day. This phenomenon not only impacts their leadership skills but also makes them ill mannered. 90% of the people felt that using a mobile in public place is considered rude when asked in 1999. Now, let alone public places, it’s common to use a mobile phone even while a person is talking directly to you. This is called Phubbing i.e., the practice of ignoring your companion in order to pay attention to one’s mobile device. The empathy levels are slowly going down due to the intrusion of smartphones in our life. A study conducted by the University of Michigan found that 2 out of 4 students were 50% less empathetic than they were 30 years ago.

Undegitised.me is the campaign began by Lior Frenkel to address the issue of mobile addiction. The campaign persuades people to not to use mobile atleast for a certain period of time. It will nudge the users to eventually get out of their addiction. The campaign was a great success. Of course, when a study shows that 57% of women in U.K chose to give up sex rather than their smartphones for a week, these campaigns assume more importance.

There was a time when Marco Polo used to travel across India without access to any device. All the decisions were based on his knowledge, courage and intuition. Smartphones have increased our dependency on others and the internet. Cautiousness while using the mobile is the need of the hour.

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