Why Does a Leader Need to Be Active on the Net?
The truth of the matter is that the majority of companies and company leaders are not that interesting. Especially when they are talking about matters regarding the company they lead. A leader who tweets about the superiority of his company’s products interests no-one. A leader can make use of the internet and social media in many very positive ways if the approach is open and personal.
In social media a leader can and must be himself, not primarily a leader of some company. When a manager tells about making sausage sauce for his family, and pouring in some vanilla sauce instead of cream he can be sure that to the company employees he is a Facebook friend with see him as more human in an instant. When a leader opens up his everyday life and shortcomings, he is often more able to perform the difficult tasks of a company leader. When he tells about a fishing trip with his children, leaving the passport home or his plans to remodify the garden he transforms from Leader into a Human. This is not to suggest that the CEO should Facebook friend the whole company staff, although it wouldn’t hurt.
Communicating company strategy and methods openly on the internet is a highly efficient leading tool. If the customers are aware and talk about the company’s goals and the methods for reaching them, it makes it easy for the leader to communicate even the most difficult necessary changes to his own staff. Communicating new things that are important for the company often requires outside reassurance. Sharing articles that support the leader’s agenda is a good and neutral way to express his own opinions without having to preach them. An open and approachable leader will win over the majority, which does wonders in enhancing the company image in general, especially amongst the company’s own staff.
In a crisis situation the leader is the face of the company, at least he should be. A leader who openly shares the fact that his company is starting employer-employee bargainings on his Twitter account deserves a medal. During crises that stem from an outside source, for example ash threat in the air traffic, the calamity caused by horse meat or a product related health risk are matters which a leader must communicate visibly, as himself. What could be a more reliable source of information than a company CEO in midst of a crisis? One must be prepared for open conversation and be willing to receive the right hooks coming from around the corner. I argue that a leader who operates openly on the internet is doing a service for both his company and himself. The leader’s personal brand value rises in an instant. We all respect openness and leaders who are human beings. This kind of leader is able create positive vibrations and successful actions / plenty of cash flow.
The Leader on the Internet Top 5
1. First be a human, not a leader.
2. Tell openly about your life and crack open the door of privacy.
3. Forget about the company corporate jargon and speak in plain terms / language.
4. Be upfront about company policy as well as challenges. Manage crises also on the internet.
5. Throw yourself in the conversation and be prepared for negative feedback.
The writer is Strategy Manager and one of the owners of Kissconsulting Ltd, and a advocate for openness. At the moment in 6 year Sailing trip around the world with his family.