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Leadership and the Earbud Problem

A year ago, while attending a conference in a major city, I would either walk several blocks from my hotel to the conference or ride the subway each day.  Travelling through the city, I noticed that the majority of the people wore ear buds (small in-ear headphones) and were somewhat oblivious to what was going on around them.  People walked down the street silently, heads down, avoiding people and traffic by means of peripheral vision, never making eye contact with passers-by and never engaging those around them.

A few months back I was visiting with a company about developing a training program for their employees.  Management felt the employees needed work on communication and teamwork skills.  The leaders stated that the employees were always grumbling about various things and constantly missing deadlines; they were not being team players and did not understand the importance of the assigned tasks.

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