In the 1980’s and 90’s, most employees didn’t know a thing about their leader outside of work. In the 2000’s, it became more acceptable to know leaders on a personal level. Today, it’s become much more the norm for employees to not only know their leader on a personal level but to be connected with their leader on social media.
The shift to a leader who is not only present online, but also an active contributor has become less of an anomaly and more of what the best leaders are doing on an ongoing basis. By taking this approach their people get to learn from them by reading blogs they have written, tweets they have sent, or pictures they have shared.
Why is this important?
In order for a leader to get people to buy into their vision, they must first get people to believe in them. It’s what leadership expert John Maxwell called the “Law of Buy-In.” Need proof? Look at the countless “Social CEO’s” and the impact they are able to have by being social:
- Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group posted How to Cause Disruption and Create Change and reached 140,000 people and famously said, “Embracing social media isn’t just a bit of fun, it’s a vital way to communicate, keep your ear to the ground and improve your business.”
- Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP, posted When I Follow a Leader and reached 17,000+ people.
- Lynn Good, CEO of Duke Energy posted Are You Prepared for a Shifting Workforce? and reached 27,000 people.
- Michael Dell posted Playing to Win and reached 76,000+ people.
I am more than aware these are all CEO’s, but the same rings true from the C-Suite to first line management. If you lead a team and haven’t been actively contributing and engaging with your people on social, here are a few reasons to get on-board:
To Be Human
When leaders are social they get the opportunity to show they are human and can connect with their people on a human level. David Rubenstein once said, “What do most people say on their deathbed? They don’t say I wish I had more money or I wish I worked more. They say, I wish I would have spent more time with my family and done more for my society and community.” By being social, I truly believe you can do more for your society, community, and the people underneath you. This can be done by sharing in big life moments and transferring knowledge that otherwise would have only been transferred to team members and beyond.
To Connect with Your People
In this weeks episode of the Follow My Lead podcast, Social Selling Expert Jamie Shanks said this about why leaders must be social, “Today’s leaders must lead by example. Most employees or direct reports want to be them one day, so people constantly look to their leaders behavior. This doesn’t mean leaders have to be on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter for 4 hours a day, it just means they have to know how important the digital world is in many people’s lives.” Jamie couldn’t be more right.
Jerome Peribere, the CEO of Sealed Air, told me the hardest part of his job is communication. Social media provides an unbelievable medium to communicate with people across geographies, time zones, and demographics. I am not talking about showing a picture of yourself flying on the corporate jet or playing your 200th round of golf this year, I am talking about communicating the important things like knowledge, mission, vision, or purpose.
To Stay Relevant
Today’s modern professionals are so connected that they don’t miss much. The best place to stay relevant to them is in their social feed. Just ask Gary Vaynerchuk how important social has been to Vayner Media’s rapid growth. Many leaders don’t get much one-on-one time with their people, so showing up in social feeds is a fantastic way to stay visible, relevant, and touch them on a regular basis.
To Recruit Talent
2M people graduating from colleges and universities this year. They spend 25%+ of their time on the internet on social platforms. Knowing that, one would assume they undoubtedly prefer to see a strong social media presence from the organizations and people leading them. Talent is the lifeblood of any organization and in order to recruit the best talent, there is social must play a large role.
If you’ve avoided social media or dabbled in it lightly, but then never came back — you’re missing huge opportunities. I don’t want to hear, “I am too old,” or “I don’t get technology.” Stay a student, learn it, and embrace it.
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John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft and Host of the Follow My Lead Podcast. He is passionate about the development of people. He writes, and speaks about modern leadership and learning techniques. You can find him on instagram @johngeades.