Fascinating today how stories are circulating about Steve Ballmer’s departure from Microsoft and the impact this will have on this highly successful, but occasionally directionless technology business. Post Steve Jobs, Apple has done well, although opinion is still divided on the legacy that Tim Cook can build.Reputation is one of the core components of Social Leadership in the NET Model: reputation subverts hierarchy, it allows us to engage and build momentum. Strange though that such large organisations are still subject to the power of individual reputation: you’d think that organisations of such size would just soldier on, but Microsoft shares jumped seven percent following the news of a leadership change.
You don’t have to be Bill Gates or Steve Wozniak develop a global reputation: in the Social Age, reputation can be built in collaborative social spaces by anyone and, in turn, their reputation can bolster their leadership.
The NET Model views Reputation as one of the nine core components that Social Leaders need to have and develop. Whilst organisations do business with organisations, we all individually interact with other people, and trust resides at the personal level. Rightly or wrongly, we imbue these iconic leaders with attributes that we could not possibly substantiate: much as we do our politicians and pop stars. It’s as much about the persona and characteristics that we project onto them as those that they actively exhibit.
The role of reputation, as well as understanding how it’s formed and responds to change, is an important dimension of Social Leadership. The role of icons is just one part of that: everyday authority and power writ large.