Reputation is forged in our communities, founded up upon our actions, our choices, our stance. It’s about our ability to curate great content, add layers of context and share it effectively, to be known as someone who gets things done and does that collaboratively and whilst developing others. In the Social Age, reputation forms a bedrock of leadership and isn’t hierarchical or bestowed by others. It’s earned through actions and deeds.
Many leadership development activities focus on behaviours and skills, but miss the broader picture: leadership is curated. We make active choices what ethical and behavioural stances we will take on any subject. We choose who to bring into our networks and who to exclude, who to develop and who to avoid. Our choices around community building are not accidental, they are considered.
Our reputation is highly portable: it comes with us wherever we go and into whatever communities we engage with, so it’s worth exerting some effort to get it right.
Social leadership resides with individuals: whilst older forms of positional or subject based authority were dependent upon longevity, social leadership and reputation can bypass all of these.
The challenge for organisations is this: how do you support your leaders in building their reputation? It needs investment in socially collaborative technologies, in training for the core skills of curation and storytelling, and in a mindset that recognises the evolving nature of work.
Organisations that get this right will be truly agile, able to benefit from the creativity and agility that social leadership brings.