If I had a big red flag stuffed in my pocket like the NFL coaches do, it would be hitting the ground right now. Yes, I am calling a penalty on the social media world. We all agree that social media has ushered in a new era of marketing. Many in the social media world believe that a new type of leadership is needed during this transformative time of change and growth in marketing. Charlene Li wrote a book on this â€œnewâ€ type of leadership. Her Open Leadership: How Social Technology Can Transform The Way You LeadÂ discussed that the age of social media mandates leaders be open. Paul Gillinâ€™s Social Media Report entitled New Media Demands New Leadership champions Liâ€™s concept of this new leadership style called open leadership. And that is where some of us disagree and where I must throw the penalty flag. Social media does not require a new style of leadership.
What is taking place in social media is only magnifying what many of us have known for years: there are a lot of poor leaders out there. The only problem now is that with social media and the access it provides to the internal workings of an organization, there is nowhere for bad leaders to hide. So those with poor leadership skills are placed under a microscope. Sound harsh? It is intended to be. For years organizations have ignored the competitive advantage gained by having great leadership. My own journey to understand and grasp the impact of social media on leadership has led me to this conclusion: the social media age is not about a new type of leadership; it is about the age-old argument of the value of great leaders versus everybody else.
In their groundbreaking leadership research summarized in The Extraordinary Leader: Turning Good Managers into Great Leaders, John Zenger and Joseph Folkman found that extraordinary leaders (those in the top 10% of leaders as evidenced by 360 feedback results) have combinations of strengths. These strengths, also known as key leadership competencies, can be grouped into five categories: character,Â personal capability, focus on results, interpersonal skills, andÂ leading organizational change. Â These great leaders, as opposed to just good leaders and poor leaders, make double the profits for the organization. So yes, great leadership is always a competitive advantage, even in the social media revolution.
From their research, Zenger and Folkman discerned that the highest expression of leadership is the ability to produce change within the organization. Thus, leading an organization through the social media revolution does not require a change in leadership style or a new form of leadership. Rather, the great leaders need only exercise a skill they most likely already have: manage the organizational change required to meet the social media revolution. Â For the remaining 89% of leaders, the starting point is self development. Why? Because Zenger and Folkmanâ€™s research documented that leaders can improve their leadership effectiveness through self-development, which would encompass growing the ability to lead and manage organizational change. A great place to start with self-development is with a 360 instrument like The Leadership Circle ProfileÂ®.
The head of social media for Ford, Scott Monty, agrees. In his March 18, 2010 blog post on The Role of Leadership in Social Media, Monty stated â€œWe often hear of social media being equated with tools and platforms. But it’s really much more than that. If you’re adopting these technologies and behaviors at your company, it’s not about the shiny new toys. It’s fundamentally about culture change. And that type of transformational change – which may include updating business practices – must come from the top. But more than a top-down dictum, it’s got to be part of leadership.â€Â So how is it part of leadership? And where do leadership and social media converge? That is the topic for next week. See you here then!
Busy driving social media through organizational change,
P.S. Want to know more about becoming a great leader? Check out our services. Want to know more about where leadership and social media meet? Then register for ourÂ upcoming workshop: Where Do Leadership and Social Media Meet?