NET works across three dimensions, each of which needs to be mastered to develop the skills, experience and capabilities of a leader in the Social Age. The model recognises that Leadership is fluid, that in agile organisations, leaders may be developed or may emerge and that there are times when anyone may exhibit or develop some of these traits and skills.Today, i want to give an overview of the first dimension of Social Leadership, and that’s Narrative. Within Narrative there are three components: Curation, Storytelling and Sharing. I’ll be developing each of these further in the following weeks, but for now, i’ll provide a structure and give an idea of how these skills would be developed practically.
Narrative is about understanding how we communicate in stories, about how we can shape and influence these to be effective leaders in the Social Age. It covers the way we find things out, the ways we interpret them, the ways we share that information in stories and how we interact with other people whilst we do so.
We communicate in stories: building personal, group and organisational stories and ‘narrative‘ crosses all three of these boundaries. As a social leader, we need to understand how we narrate our personal story, how we develop that in teams into a co-created narrative and how that relates to and shapes the overall organisational narrative. Narratives are fluid, evolving over time and in response to circumstances, but they are not out of our control: we have the ability to shape and influence them.
Curation focuses on three states: discovery, perception and interpretation. Discovery is about how we find things out, Perception’s about seeing the structure and Interpretation is about finding the meaning, contextualising it to our reality. Curation is an active skill, not a passive one: it’s about identifying gaps in skills and knowledge and plugging them, but also about building communities and networks. Curation is a continuous process, forming a foundation for the stories we tell.
Practical: the practical activities that will relate to this are around knowledge management methodologies, around filtering and around unconscious bias.
Within the Storytelling component of social leadership, we are looking at how stories work, about shape, structure, tone of voice and interconnection (how they relate to other stories). We need to understand the theory of storytelling, exploring how stories contain information and how that information is structured and perceived, in order to develop coherent narratives, stories that make sense in isolation and when connected to our individual realities.
Practical: the practical activities that will relate to this include practicing different stances, exploring how stories convey meaning and crafting messages from multiple viewpoints.
Sharing is about inward and outward facing realities and reciprocity. Later we will cover the social technologies that facilitate sharing, but for now we are interested in how relationships are reinforced through sharing, the differences between synchronous and asynchronous sharing and how sharing is a differentiating skill in the Social Age.
Practical: activities to develop sharing skills would include mapping a communication strategy, looking at perspectives and scheduling.
Narrative is the first dimension of social leadership: it’s about how we curate our knowledge and skills, how we understand our boundaries and limitations and how we tell meaningful, engaging stories to effect change. Narrative forms a foundation for engagement and is facilitated by technology.