Summary of Back to Human

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8 Overall

9 Applicability

7 Innovation

7 Style


Today’s social communications technologies and apps drive people apart. Isolation, loneliness and depression are on the rise, especially among youth who are addicted to social media and texting. Impersonal communications erode trust, camaraderie and collaboration. This leaves the majority of your workforce disengaged. Dan Schawbel, a Facebook and app-loving millennial, urges you to “put down your phone, turn off your notifications and get offline.” He offers the radical suggestion that you get up and go see people in person. His advice for young leaders, if a bit repetitive, hits the mark: Lead by example, spend time with your team members, get to know them, invest in their development, listen, coach and show that you care. New entrants to the workforce, and especially new leaders, can learn a lot from Schawbel’s guidance – especially given the slim chance that he convinces you to balance screen time with face time. 

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why communications technologies – apps, social media, email and text – isolate people rather than uniting them;
  • Why today’s most effective leaders care, empathize and connect personally; and
  • What strategies will help you improve your ability to engage, motivate and retain employees through trust and meaningful personal connections.

About the Author

Dan Schawbel leads research for Future Workplace and speaks at events and conferences globally about the generations, personal branding and careers.



The Lonely Generation: Addressing Isolation

Technology, particularly computers, smartphones and social media apps, enables unprecedented but superficial connectivity. They contribute to isolation and loneliness, especially among those most addicted to them – youth. People feel cut off at work and elsewhere; they collaborate, but mostly through devices. Many individuals crave real, in-person time with other people but, instead, suffer isolation, even in big firms or major cities.

Isolation causes stress, anxiety and, eventually, grave mental conditions. At work, isolation erodes trust, engagement and performance. Participation in social media doesn’t offer a remedy; it hampers interpersonal skills and harms well-being. Leaders must focus on reducing isolation and turnover while increasing engagement and productivity by improving the following elements of workplace culture:

Reduce Stress

Pay people fairly to remove the biggest cause of stress – financial worry. Focus your teams on building strong, trusting relationships. Trust has a positive effect ...

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