Social Leadership: Communities and meaning

We don’t just belong to one community: in the Social Age, we belong to many. Maybe there was a time when we all lived in caves and gathered around campfires to skin mammoths, when we were constrained by being in just one tribal group, but today our membership is wide and varied. Some are social groupings, based around old university friends, school mates, chess clubs or gardening, whilst others based around our offices at work, some around specific interests (like car mechanics or yoga) and others around individual projects.

Our communities

We belong to many communities: some permanent, some transient. It’s a feature of working in the Social Age

Sometimes our interactions with these groups are just for fun, whilst at other times they are focused around problem solving for specific challenges.

We interact within communities to create meaning, in the moment. That’s what the Social Age is all about: moving beyond pure knowledge to finding the meaning and taking transformative action.

Creating meaning within communities

Social Leaders are adept at curating stories based upon their experience, research and existing knowledge. They share these within their communities, building reputation as a result

Social leaders understand this. They take facts, previous experience and knowledge and share this, within their communities, to create meaning: they curate and interpret this information and make it specific to the audiences that they share it with. This act of curation and sharing builds their reputation, and reputation subverts more formal models of authority. And if there isn’t a community there to do this in, they form one for the duration of the project (they have the social capital to form and develop these).

The challenge for organisations is this: they need to identify and cultivate social leadership skills, whilst at the same time being magnetic to new talent. They need to create and tolerate the socially collaborative spaces that these communities need, both from a technological and moderation perspective. You need to be seen as a creative and innovative place to work, a true Social Age business with a mindset and policies to prove it.

Today, agile social workers, innovative social leaders have choices: they can work for you or they can work elsewhere. Where do you want them to turn? Can you afford to lose them?

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About julianstodd

A learning and development professional specialising in e-learning and learning technology.
This entry was posted in Authority, Collaboration, Community, Connections, Conversation, Culture, Curation, Group Dynamics, Learning, Meaning, Personal Learning Network, Social Learning and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

32 Responses to Social Leadership: Communities and meaning

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  2. DougDoesLife says:

    Good info. Concise and helpful. Thanks for the tips…

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