It's imperative that you are "social" in your leadership and influence today. A new reality exists, and as leaders we have to be not only aware of this, but also willing to jump in and embrace a new reality of Social engagement like never before. Here are a few thoughts on Social Leadership:
1. Social Media = Influence. Bloggers, Tweeters, Facebookers, and Social media junkies are now the normal outlets to tap into for getting the word out. I've seen this the last few years with everything from new movies to new books to new conferences. These leaders are being sought out not just for their networks, but also for their endorsements. It's a new era. Exponential influence in ways never seen before is happening through blogging, tweeting, facebooking, pinteresting, etc. Digital mavens are shaping what we are listening to, reading, watching, and learning.
2. Social Entrepreneurs= A new wave of leaders has emerged. Leaders who combine business savvy with charitable endeavors and social innovation. Scott Harrison, Charles Lee, Blake Mycoskie, Jamie Tworkowski, Laura Waters Hinson, Eugene Cho, Jeff Shinabarger, Kohl Crecelius and Jason Russell just to name a few.
3. Social Accountability- Leaders are constantly being evaluated in todays culture. You can’t hide anymore behind a position or title. Leaders are being held to a standard never seen before because of constant media- video, flip cameras, blogging, twitter. Your leadership has constant real-time evaluation. Especially well-known leaders. And Authenticity is crucial. Being honest, genuine and real is important for continual influence.
4. Social Good- it's now in vogue to "do good." And society in general is taking notice. Celebrities gain more influence because of causes they're involved in. Businesses are "doing good" and focusing on the triple bottom line, which is now a normal measurement of success in business. Meaning what was our "gift back to society" and how did we "leave the world a better place." It's not just about making a profit anymore.
5. Social Politics in organizations is fading- Positional leadership doesn’t really matter anymore. Not about what position or title you hold, but more about what you are delivering. If you are executing and getting things done and creating value for the organization, your influence will have impact.
6. Creating a social "community" is now a norm, not an exception. A great example of this is Zappos, and the kind of culture that Tony Hsieh has created there. Employees enjoy being around each other, and take pride in a sense of family that exists within their company.
7. Flattening of the "social hierarchy of influence." I can learn from all kinds of great leaders in todays culture, and not know them personally. I can also connect with well known leaders much easier than in the past through technology and social platforms. Information and inspiration has never been so readily available to us. When you follow someone on Twitter, you feel like you know them personally, even if they have hundreds of thousands of other "followers."
8. Social Justice is not just a fad. Connected to #4, but my opinion is that especially within the Church/faith community, this shift towards the "living out" of the Gospel through justice and mercy is here to stay.
9. A new generation of employees expect a "social workplace." This is a Reality of a new generation, according to Tim Elmore is his great book Generation iY :
- Experiential- all about the 5 senses. Sensory engagement is critical and a reality in terms of what Millenials have grown up with and desire.
- Participatory- want an experience to be customized. Millenials have grown up in a participatory culture. They don’t just listen, but actually want to participate. This is very important in terms of creating a work environment/team culture that is attractive to 20 somethings.
- Image-Rich- all about pictures, video, large screens, large TV’s, high res pics on your phone, etc. Pictures/video are an incredibly powerful learning medium for Millenials, vs. just text. Especially in terms of memory.
- Connected- information is constant for Millenials. Text, facebook, twitter, phone, email. This can be both a positive and a negative.