Social leadership is a style of leadership the fosters innovation and creativity, collaboration and effectiveness. It does this by focussing on nine components that, together, develop the mindset and skills required to build reputation and authority in the Social Age. It’s founded on a belief that the ecosystem we live in is changing: that our relationship with knowledge has evolved, that your value is no longer founded on what you know, but rather on your ability to create meaning, your ability to function in formal and informal networks to create momentum and support and sustain change. Social leaders are collaborative and tell powerful stories.
In other words, ‘fit for purpose‘ no longer means getting trained up and then operating on a level playing field until your next promotion: the agile learner and the agile business both need to develop and rehearse the skills required in a world in constant change.
Why do we need agility? Because process and control will not deliver the space for reflection and experimentation that is needed to be excellent. Agility is about iteration and feedback, it’s about co-creation and collaboration. It’s about a culture that supports learning from mistakes and that tells stories of it’s success.
Social leaders will be both found and grown within the business, but also need to be identified and attracted from outside. A business that supports social ways of working will be magnetic to this type of talent, and when you’re magnetic, it makes life much easier!
Social leadership is based around three core areas: Narrative is about curating your space and telling effective stories, Engagement is about creating and sustaining communities and Technology is about momentum and the co-creation of meaning.
The formal networks and hierarchies that defined the business of the past are being swept away by changing dynamics of power, knowledge and authority. People build reputation within communities, based upon their ability to curate appropriate content, create strong narratives, share these appropriately and support others in the co-creation of meaning from these stories. Businesses need to be able to engage in these semi formal and informal spaces, as well as still retaining credibility in formal ones. We see time and again instances where businesses believe that this is simply about social media policies and having a Facebook page, but it’s far, far beyond that.
When we build a population of engaged leaders who able to lead in socially collaborative ways, we build the foundations of agility and creativity that will sustain the organisation into the future. Engaged with both it’s employees, leaders and communities.