I wanted to strip down this post to the essence of Social Leadership: building a movement, nurturing others, putting your shoulder to the cart. The Social Age takes us beyond the context of winning through knowledge, power, and noise alone: to thrive in this new context requires community, trust, and a humility to listen.
Social Leaders do not just build formal strength to push ever harder: they build a movement to carry the story forwards. They do this by engaging in many communities, with a different role in each: in some cases they carry knowledge and power, whilst in many they listen, empathise, nurture and support. They hear weak voices and amplify them: they help the community to be a ‘sense making’ entity, and they recognise and reward engagement with the Social Currencies that the community values.
Social Leaders do not compete with others to win, through an outdated notion that success is a limited resource: rather they win together, often by giving everything away. Give away certainty, give away power, give away resources, give away access to network and community. Give away arrogance and self aggrandisement. Share uncertainty and doubt. We win together by making the journey together: the shoulders of others that we build upon are not shoulders that we stamp down upon, but rather reach down to pull up.
Social Leaders do not look at you and measure the weight that you carry, to observe, or to pile on more: they carry that weight with you, and sometimes take it off you. But this weight is not the weight of workload: it is the weight of consequence, belief, doubt, and limitation. They do not give you the answers: they carry the weight with you to find those answers together. Your answers.
If this sounds idealistic, it is. But it’s deeply practical and applied. The culture of your Organisation, and the leadership you wield, is held in your actions, in every moment of every day.
When you take something out of the system to make yourself stronger, you win in one dimension, but lose in all the others. But when you invest in the system, invest in others, and carry your power with humility, with a willingness to be wrong, and to hold others safely as they find their failure, then you will be a Social Leader.
Another day i will write about idealism and dogma: today is a stark truth. To be the strongest Social Leader is about understanding our own weakness, and having the humility to share it.