Are you a leader, or emerging leader in your craft or technology? It’s not enough to be very good at what you do; leadership requires a whole lot more of you. Having spent a good many years in technology, and a little more than 5 years in a global IT company, the geek in me wanted to take a look at the area of social media, an emerging industry in itself changing the rules of how we do business.
Whether you are on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin or the many various blog sites, you will see industry giants such as Starbucks right down to home businesses leveraging the large reach available to them via some of these networks. Business pages, profiles and connections are occurring in the hundreds of thousands daily! So who are some of the leaders in this new business era?
If you frequent my Blog, you’ll notice I have a link to the blog site of Chris Brogan in my blog roll. On his contact page it will tell you that “Chris is President of New Marketing Labs, a social media agency that helps businesses understand business strategy around online communication tools like blogs, social networks, listening tools, and community platforms.” Chris is becoming a true leader in his craft.
What it doesn’t tell you is what kind of a professional you will find in Chris. I follow him on twitter, I read his blogs, I check out his website and I think quite highly of him. Now I would like to tell you why. There may be half a million people out there claiming to be social media experts, but Chris and his pirates are the real deal and Chris takes leadership seriously. Long before there was anyone else working with him, Chris understood that having a following means performing like a true leader.
Chris recognizes his responsibilities as a role model and does so with professionalism, courtesy and respect. In all the running conversations I have seen thus far, he exhibits the four signs of a good role model.
1. Selective with people
2. Upholds core ethics and values
3. Exhibits consistent behaviour toward others
4. Does what he preaches.
His blog has a very large following, and he is exceptional at keeping it updated with very relevant and informative information. His following on Twitter is (as of this writing) 33,119 people! I kid you not, this man has a long list of followers all wanting to learn and find out more about his success in social media and how it can translate to them or their business.
What’s so special about Chris is he understands the importance of this role for the many people who are listening to him. He refrains from negative comments but will occasionally challenge another person’s negative comments to draw the best out of them and he is an example of a great leader.
Another case of media professionalism is Guy Kawasaki, he doesn’t get as involved in conversation as much as Chris, but he does show great professionalism. I have not witness him be rude, rudely criticize an individual or say anything that would alienate people from following him. He, like Chris, has a good sense of humour and is enjoyable to listen to.
This is not the case with all of the top followed social media experts. A few of the social media ‘phenom’ believe that saying anything they want to their followers is fine, and they do so in any form; including:
· personal insults ;
· vulgar language;
· broad generalizations;
· and Rude responses.
Perhaps this is an example of success too quickly or at a young age such that the fundamental teachings of the planet have not yet settled in.
1. It is a very small world, we are global and what you say will have a lasting impact for the rest of your career and maybe your life.
2. Your audience looks up to you and deserves your respect, whether it’s 4 people or 40,000 people.
3. In the end, all you have is your reputation. If you’re building a business on your knowledge, how you treat people directly affects your reputation.
I could go on and list multiple examples of poor behaviour from a couple of the social media giants, but I’d rather highlight the folks who are making a positive difference to the many people who follow them. We all know what poor behaviour and rude comments look like, we all know what it’s like when a “celebrity” of sorts throws disrespect out to their fans, no need to describe it here.
Suffice it to say, there are some lessons the truly great role models show that every young and new emerging leader can follow, regardless of your industry:
1. It does not matter how bright or ingenious you are, the people who look up to you deserve respect.
2. If you wish to be treated as an expert or leader in your field exhibit the behaviour of a good role model.
3. Be careful of your words, they are being heard by many and will have a much larger impact than you realize. In many cases, they will return to haunt you or celebrate you, your choice.
4. You pull your pants on the same way as everyone else, how much money you earn or how successful you’ve been is determinate to your hard work, but does not make you better than any other individual on the planet.
The first sign of a great role model is being selective with people. This means being selective with the company in which you keep; the leaders you choose to follow fit within that category. If you are interested in social media for you or your business, I would suggest you follow Chris Brogan’s blog and pay attention not only to the great information and help he offers in the social media realm, but pay attention also to his exceptional leadership qualities. He models these lessons every day in a very unassuming and genuine manner.
You’ll find Guy Kawasaki’s blog “How to Change the World” a great read and will love his company Alltop for the streams of news information he provides. Although you may not get into many conversations with Guy his respectful treatment of the many people trying to connect with him is worth paying attention to.
If you have even one person listening to what you have to say, you are in a leadership position. Leadership is not a title, it is an honour and responsibility handed to you by the people who follow you. Take it on with integrity, respect, compassion and open honesty for if you do, it will provide you with the many benefits of a truly great leader.
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