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Connecting the Untact World Through Women’s Leadership

Registered Date April 20, 2021 Read 171
Connecting the Untact World Through Women’s Leadership
Kim Tae-Ra

A new era requires new leadership. We are facing an unprecedented time of “New Normal” due to COVID-19. The term “New Normal” refers to a new lifestyle based on non-face-to-face interactions, or in other words “untact”. “Untact” is a newly coined term in Korea that combines the word “contact”, and the prefix "un”, which means negative or the opposite of. The term encompasses transactions, businesses, and meetings conducted through technology. In order to prevent virus infections, people are avoiding face-to-face meetings and instead shifting towards a new norm in life, communicating with each other through digital devices. Experts agree that COVID-19 has accelerated the progression of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

‘Untact’ does not mean completely no contact or breaking connections with each other, instead it means being connected in a new way. As a result, the term "ontact" has also emerged. It is a concept that combines online “connection(on)” with ‘untact’. ‘Untact’ and ‘ontact’ are ways to connect with more people beyond the risks and limitations of face-to-face meetings in a safe and convenient way. Therefore, ironically, the ‘Untact’ era, which focuses on non-face-to-face services, is considered an era for greater "connection." 

This new era calls for a fundamental shift in leadership while also providing excellent opportunities to demonstrate women’s leadership. It is without a doubt that leadership needs to be developed to match the changing times of an ‘untact’ society; however, interestingly enough, the fundamental characteristics of leadership essential to this era are already inherent in humans. The human traits that we call 'femininity' are the characteristics that can be and needs to be developed in the form of leadership suitable for a technology-driven era as the new world of contactless connections will require these qualities.

It goes without saying that the “connections” of the ‘Untact’ era will be made by technology. However, what is required in this technology-driven world is paradoxically “humanity”. In a technology-driven society, humanity is likely to be neglected. Humanity means the "inner self" of human beings and the inner self is a person’s internal mind, soul or nature, which points to femininity. If technology and materials corresponds to masculinity (positive/Yang), non-material elements such as mind, spirit, and personality belong to femininity (negative/Yin). Yin and Yang cannot exist alone and must coexist and harmonize with each other. That is why as the world becomes more masculine by technology, female energy to complement and embrace it becomes more essential.

In response to that, women's leadership in the new era begins with the earnest development of humanity and inner self. Masculine leadership, which exerted external influence and relied on vertical relationships or dominating hierarchical relationships to lead organizations in the past, is not very effective in an individualistic, non-face-to-face society. The type of leadership that leads in an ‘untact’ world based on horizontal relationships is leadership from the inside out, human-centered leadership. This type of leadership is essentially describing “feminine” leadership. The term “feminine” here does not direct to the biological male and female gender, but rather the nature and humanity inherent in all human beings. Therefore, during this New Normal era where technology leads, it is a time where our inner femininity needs to wake up and shows its abilities.

In an ‘untact’ world, technology is able to “touch” and connect, but in the end, digital devices cannot connect with our hearts and minds. In the era of an individual-centered new normal, the “connection” between humans need to be more than the mere formality of connecting through machines. The sense of connection that is needed isn’t materialistic but internalized as part of the mind. Based on this internal connection that is needed, the type of leadership that transcends non-face-to-face barriers and understands the human mind, embraces differences and diversity, and leads in this ‘untact’ era is true feminine/women’s leadership.

The qualities required for such leadership are “feminine” qualities such as sensitivity, empathy, intuition, consideration, and communication skills that in the past were deemed secondary to have. In order to move and connect with individuals who may be alone in a room meeting others indirectly through a screen, we need to read their minds, empathize with them, and intuitively observe the situation beyond the screen. In addition, human-to-human connections need to be made by talking and communicating from the other person’s point of view and incorporate individualized minds. As such, these strong internal mindsets and capabilities are needed in leadership in order to truly connect and lead in the ‘untact’ world.

Before showing these “feminine” or “inner self” qualities externally, they must be realized and fully developed internally. Before connecting to the world, you must be connected to yourself. However, what does it mean to be connected to yourself? This refers to being one with your inner state or personal self-integration, namely the integration of self-existence. When the big and small egos within oneself are connected and unified, beliefs and ideals lead to being practiced in reality, words and actions match, and there is a harmony and balance of the egos, all which exerts a positive influence on the outside world. The internal connection within a human being, something which cannot be realized no matter how advanced technology is, is the foundation of external connections in the world.

When we live as beings connected with our inner self, our consciousness and unconsciousness becomes more closely connected and linked as well. When closely connected, our consciousness, something humans can control, and our unconsciousness, which is stronger than the conscious, causes leadership to become more authentic and stable. Through the integration of consciousness and unconsciousness, the sensitivity, empathy, and intuition previously mentioned are awakened more deeply. Creativity, flexibility, and open mind, which are essential qualities in this rapidly changing era, are also cultivated through this inner integration. Leaders with these qualities can connect with those in this ‘untact’ world more delicately and closely. In addition, the leader will have the wisdom and eyes to see the whole situation and even have the foresight to lead the era. 

Vision is one of the most important elements of leadership regardless of the times. A competent leader must be able to draw a convincing blueprint and vision of the future. When self-integration and consciousness are united, you can further develop the ability to gain insight into the connections between the past, present, and the future, going beyond simply being able to adapt to changes in the world. Being able to gain wisdom through past experiences, focus on the present with an awakened consciousness, all while looking towards the future with a creative outlook through advanced technology will become the center of the future’s leadership in the new era. 

In the New Normal era, there will be more and more people who seek inner satisfaction, happiness, and meaning and purpose of life compared to those who simply live to make ends meet. Going beyond having a “work-life balance”, work will need to become directly connected to an individual’s self-realization. It is becoming a trend nowadays to not be tied down by one job and instead have multiple jobs at the same time where you can develop your various talents. This phenomenon, which is rapidly increasing due to the “N-Jober”s (“N” referring to numerous or more than one, “Job”, and “-er” meaning a person who works), is also linked to a human’s internal desire to realize oneself through work.

During this kind of trend, when a leader realizes their true nature and exerts that through their leadership, they can motivate and inspire others very positively. This is because humans have an innate desire to realize their potential and enjoy true joy and a sense of accomplishment. This goes to show that an inner-centered leadership, developed from within through self-designing their own life by doing what they like and satisfies them daily, is a true win-win leadership that makes both the individual and the world better.   

The power to connect the world comes from connecting with yourself, and when self-realized, you can be reborn and renewed with a creative vision and lead the world. This type of leadership, however, is not only for those with a leadership title. In a world connected through horizontal networks or relationships, the fixed top disappears and individuals become their own center. So before looking outside to find the leader of your life and work, you must become your own leader. Leading one’s existence and life with independent leadership – this is where it all begins. This is why human-centered women leadership that stems from the inside is bound to become more and more important.  

In an individualistic ‘untact’ world, each person will become his or her own leader. Thus, the new era of women leadership is not just for women. Both men and women must cultivate effective leadership based on their own inner self. Leadership that connects the whole world through internal integration will be a leadership that truly shines in the era of the ‘untact’ world. This new feminine, women leadership will lead our future.