The Social Age rewards agility: the ability to frame and reframe problems, to deploy our communities and experiment, question and react at speed. It’s less about mastery of process, more about communication and collaboration. Social Leaders demonstrate a rounded skill set: a holistic mastery of these skills and a consistent demonstration of these behaviours over time. Reputation is founded upon this consistency.
In traditional terms, it’s a mixture of hard and soft skills: sure, there is an element of technology that needs to be mastered, but there is very little process. Social Leadership is more about storytelling, sharing and reciprocating than it is about performance reviews and competency frameworks. It may exist alongside these things, but the authority is garners is consensual, granted through the community.
Agile organisations need frameworks for control that are balanced by capabilities of social leadership. Rely too much on control and you become stagnant, lethargic, unable to be agile.
A large component of Social Leadership is to do what’s right: what’s right for the organisation and what’s right for individuals. To do what’s right even beyond what the regulation of law tells us we must do. It’s about propagating fairness and equality through all our decision making.
We can reduce leadership to individual frames and, indeed, seek to master the skills in each, but in it’s application, it’s something that is lived holistically. It’s the exhibited behaviours of Social Leadership that make the social leader. It’s less about talk, more about action.The NET Model outlines nine core components, grouped into three Dimensions. The first, ‘Narrative‘, is about taking a stance, about deciding how you will be understood, what you will be known for. We curate accordingly, shape stories in line with this and share them appropriately. The skills learnt around Narrative enable the Social Leader to act with consistency and reflect on the consequences of their actions.
The second Dimension is about Engagement: it’s about understanding the role and purpose of communities and the many different ways we engage within them. Right in the middle of the model sits Reputation: wrought through the stance we take, the stories we tell and the ways in which we contextualise and share them. Reputation cannot be faked: the authenticity in our stories can only be lived, and authenticity, for both organisations and individuals is a core part of trust and integrity. Authority, founded upon that reputation, is socially granted and moderated.
Finally comes Technology, but not the skills of operating systems, rather the ways that the technology facilitates the conversations, facilitates us to be better. Social Capital, right in the middle of this section, explores notions of humility and equality in Social Leadership: doing what’s right and the responsibilities that come with our social authority.
Responsibility comes with authority: the prize is not the power. The prize is the fairness we create when we exercise it.
We can view leadership in frames, separate components, different competencies, but it’s in it’s exercising that our reputation is forged and it’s in the exercise of power that we do right or wrong.
Understand the frames, but strive to do right.
For organisations, understand the role of technology, the role of process and control, but create the permissions to do right, the spaces to explore and the mechanisms to reward and recognise social authority.
It’s the way to agility.
The Social Leadership Handbook is available in Hardback copy from here.