This is a repost from an earlier article on the topic of Social Media and Leadership. This updated post will serve as the framing post for our #usguyschat on Monday 8/1/11 at 12 Noon PDT 3 PM EDT.
Many chats discuss the qualities of leadership. We would like to discuss the role of leadership relative to a firm’s business model within a rapidly changing external environment.
Newark, NJ Mayor Cory Booker was hailed by TIME as a “social media superhero.”
The magazine detailed how he successfully used Twitter as a public-service tool during the blizzard of 2010. Booker not only communicated with his constituents via social media, but he also hit the snow-covered pavement, shoveling out shut-ins, clearing snow-filled streets, sending out plows, and even delivering diapers, all in response to tweets on the Twitter hashtag #snowpocalypse.
Booker certainly went beyond the call of duty, taking leadership to a whole new hit-the-streets level. But I’d like to focus on how cleverly he used Twitter as a way to offer support and communicate with his constituents. Capitalizing on his Twitter usage during the snowstorm crisis, Booker has opened the door for future opportunities to communicate with his constituents in an online forum.
What can I take away from Booker’s leadership example?
- Be prepared—Booker was able to be effective in large part due to a good network. It’s critical to build a comprehensive contact list that reaches across all affiliations, as well as within the organization. Knowing how to delegate is one thing, but without being connected to the right resources, even the best strategy will flop.
- Respond—while delegating is critical in time management, especially in a crisis, be sensitive to listeners’ needs to avoid a middle-man. Not only do they want to know they’ve been heard by the head-kahuna, they also appreciate hearing news “from the horse’s mouth”.
- Manage expectations—being “in the know” to some degree is usually better than being completely “left in the dark”, even if the picture isn’t so peachy. To the degree that you can communicate details, do it. And if the information is a long time coming…set that expectation upfront, while also having the courtesy to reach out to let folks know that though things are quiet, you’re still on it.
- Offer encouragement and perspective—history can be useful in offering perspective and applying learnings from previous experiences. Remind folks where others have walked.
What other takeaways can you extract from Booker’s leadership example? Any ideas on how you would build on the social media conversation?
Following are questions for the #usguyschat:
Q1 – Is there a correlation between your business model and the most effective style of leadership?
Q2 – Does the increasing consumer voice necessitate a different style of leadership? Why or why not?
Q3 – Should the style of leadership change with the stage of the business (growth/decline/expansion)
Q4 – Does leadership influence innovation? sustainability?
Q5 – Are there businesses that function well irrespective of leadership style?