Better Leadership Through Social Media

Most executives don't want yet another platform to deal with. They aren't looking at it the right way.

"Join a new online network? I'd love to!"

In 15 years of helping business, government and nonprofit leaders make strategic choices about digital technology, I've yet to hear an executive utter those words.

Sometimes that's due to the risks of public embarrassment or conflict that come with online engagement. Sometimes it's painful memories of previous tech projects that ran over budget and behind schedule. And sometimes it's because executives would rather interact face-to-face than keyboard-to-keyboard.

But always, I hear a common concern: How can I add another platform, task list or set of relationships to my already full plate?

Social media have only made that problem more acute. While blogging, Twitter and Facebook have brought new opportunities for conversation, knowledge gathering and relationship building, those opportunities may feel more daunting than dazzling to overloaded executives.

The solution is to stop looking at social media as another platform you have to learn—yet another responsibility—and start seeing it for what it can be instead: a personal toolbox for improving your practice of leadership.

Each tool and activity described below requires a certain investment of time to set up. But once it's part of your routine, it will repay you with insights into work and leadership, and with freed-up time. Start with one, so you can see the payoff before adding more setup jobs to your busy agenda. But do start.

Here are six ways you can use social media to enhance your leadership.

Create a Leadership Dashboard

Don't just monitor the Web for intelligence about your business and brand; mine it for ideas, news and research that will help you develop as a leader. Use iGoogle, Google Reader or an iPad aggregator like Flipboard to subscribe to a range of blogs, columnists and news searches that offer insights into new leadership models, profiles of high-functioning executives, academic research on leadership and summaries of the latest business books. Set aside 15 to 30 minutes a day to read the articles that speak to you, or make this your end-of-day reading for the homeward commute. Read More

Posted on April 2, 2012 and filed under Best Practices.