Today, i want to focus on one aspect of Social Leadership: ‘Social Learning Enabler‘. In the Social Age, generosity is a key survival trait, alongside high social capital (the ability to survive and thrive in online learning and collaboration spaces). An inherent part of generosity is the willingness to build skills in others and, for the Social Leader (and for the Social Leadership curriculum of any organisation), building skills to enable social learning is a key part of this.
In most organisations today, we see embryonic social learning spaces: chat features through Lync, Yammer or some other collaborative tool. Uptake is sporadically high, sometimes in particular departments, sometimes around particular events, but rarely is it universally high. We need to develop the skills of social learning, just as we would any other skills, such as time management and influencing.
The Social Leader recognises that the team is stronger than individuals, but the socially enabled team is stronger still: whilst my individual networks make me more clever and productive, the collaborative potential of a group is still higher. Enabling individuals within teams to build their own reputation and skills, to curate their own networks and profile, inherently strengthens the team (especially if they too adopt generosity as a core trait. We know that the amplification effects of social learning rely on connecting to key nodes: if you can develop those nodes within your own team, all the better.
Developing the social learning skills of others should be a natural and altruistic trait of the Social Leader, but it’s not without it’s benefits: successful people are generous with their time and expertise or, in my belief, in the Social Age they will be.
So part of our training for emerging Social Leaders should be enabling them to be generous, to reward engagement and to provide structure for them to develop people within their team. I plan to put some time into developing such a structure when i’m back from Asia. In the meantime, i wanted to encourage people to think about these key Social Leadership traits and explore to what extent they are supported or developed within your organisation, if at all.