I started exploring the traits of the Social Leader yesterday and wanted to follow up with some further thoughts today. The Social Leader can navigate formal and informal spaces with ease, equally at home engaging online as in person. The point of Social Leadership is to retain the best of existing organisational structure, process and hierarchy, but to subvert and reinforce it with the best of learning and leading in the Social Age. The premise of Social Leadership is that organisations and individuals both need to be agile, able to respond at speed to new knowledge and new facts to create new meaning, expressed as definite action and the ability to take transformative steps.
Agile organisations are the ones with the power to attract and retain the very best talent, and they need Social Leaders.
Within the formal space, Social Leaders are superb planners, with a reputation for delivery. Why? Because they understand that in the Social Age, change is incremental and constant. They don’t view change as a threat to the status quo, they view status quo as anathema to agility. Their first instinct to a problem is to assemble an agile, emergent community to support planning and action and their plans are moderated and strengthened by that community.
Because Social Leaders are connected and are agents of connection, their personal learning networks and troubleshooting networks range within and outside of the organisation, making them able to draw upon the very best existing tribal knowledge and also the best industry knowledge from around the world.
Social Leaders build a strong reputation within the business, because they understand that authority doesn’t come from longevity, a subject matter expert title or simply position. Their reputation is build upon superb knowledge management skills, curating information both within their organisations and within their networks, as well as delivering on time and budget. It’s their business skills and capability at having data driven conversations that gives them organisational credibility.
In the informal space, Social Leaders connect people: they forge connections themselves, but also support others in this. A core skill of social leadership is generosity with time and knowledge. They support people irrespective of how ‘important’ they are by conventional measures, believing instead that a network needs to be broad and that anyone can subvert hierarchy with a good idea.
Social Leaders can filter effectively, working out what stories are inward or outward facing and just engaging with the relevant ones. Everything they share is curated to recognise this, so that they constantly inform others in ways that are relevant to them, not just to oneself. This forms a foundation of reputation.
I wanted to revisit Social Leadership today as i got a lot of feedback yesterday and, as i move further into writing for the book on the Social Age, it comes clearer to me that this agility, these skills, are more important than ever. But my own thinking is evolving as i develop this into practical applications, so i’m sure there will be more to come!