In his article, ‘13 Rules of Leadership for Communication, Influence and Social Media Strategy,’ SocialMediaToday’s Don Bulmer demonstrates how US Army General, Colin Powell’s rules of leadership can be applied to the life of a communication professional in an environment of constant social and business change.
RULE #1: It ain’t as bad as you think. It will look better in the morning.
The practice and art of managing communication and influence has changed significantly over the last three years driven in large part by the impressive utilisation and growth of social media – further enabled by innovations in the development of mobile technologies and social applications.
The ability for anyone to publish and communicate instantaneously with reach beyond boarders (only limited timezone) has fundamentally changed how communication professionals manage influence and shape opinion.
Communication professionals are often under pressure (sometimes false) to react or respond to issues in the social web in a matter of seconds or a few minutes – rather than several minutes to a few hours.
The pressure to react or respond so quickly to a negative ‘tweet’ or blog post before it becomes viral can be great. It can also often make an issue or situation worse if done in hast.
Because of the viral nature of social media – when you react or act you must do so with a sense of purpose, clarity and honesty. Sometimes this means taking time to gather facts, background and even assess if a response is warranted – or – if the ‘social system’ will self correct issues of concern.
It is always best to allow time to assess and condition a situation before reacting…because it might not look that bad after thinking it through.
RULE #2: Get mad, then get over it.
Social media is a tremendous environment for people to channel their emotion and how they feel about a particular issue or situation. When people communicate via social media it is often because they want to be listened to – they want to be heard.
As such, you should resist being pulled into someone’s emotional state – particularly if it is one of anger.
Keeping composure in how you communicate or react to a situation on the social web is paramount. In many cases the life span of a seemingly negative issue is short lived. Communicating with anger or emotion only fuels more emotion, speculation, and will likely add to the longevity of issues (unnecessarily).
Using sports as an analogy, when faced with an adverse situation you must collect yourself, get back into the game and focus on forward progress – which can be done in both defensive and offensive positions. So get mad (privately), regroup and re-establish a position directed at turning a negative situation into a neutral or positive one.
RULE #3: Avoid having your ego so close to your position that when your position falls, your ego goes with it.
Given the rapid pace of change in an increasingly competitive business environment it is important to question the old, comfortable ways of doing things.
As David Zinn rightly identified in his article – If you are doing things simply because it is the way things have always been done, you should question yourself. As the old way often will not be conducive to success or creating the elusive and much desired competitive advantage.
Reinvention in business and in corporate communications is critical to foster and sustain innovation and forward progress both for your company and your professional career.
Don Bulmer found there are three fundamental principles of social thinking that business leaders must ‘align to’ in order to be successful in today’s environment:
1. Be open to ideas outside of your own
2. Be flexible and open enough to incorporate those ideas into what you do
3. Have genuine desire to achieve continuous competitive advantage
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