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Transformational Leadership Strategies in the Age of Social Media

When it comes down to motivating employees in the 21st century business environment, your leadership should look to transformational leadership.  Transformation leadership is a style of leadership where a leader works with subordinates to identify needed change, creating a vision to guide the chane through inspiration and executing the change in tandem with committed members of a group. Strategies that embrace the use of modern social media. Of course, your organization will need a social media policy to ensure trust isn’t abused, but a policy won’t ensure your leaders use social media to its best effects.

Don’t expect secrets to be kept

As humans we are inherently social. We enjoy connecting, sharing our views, discussing ideas, and giving advice. Our communication reach has exploded in the last 10 years, thanks to the phenomenon of social media. We can now share our thoughts, likes and dislikes, hopes and fears, with a global audience of millions (if not billions). Viral posts are the new Chinese whispers.

We also love discussing secrets. For many this gives a sense of power or privilege. Facebook is the ultimate coffee-shop chat. And it’s easier than ever for people to eavesdrop conversations.

Is knowledge power anymore?

The age of social media is pushing the transformational leadership strategies that encourage employee engagement. It used to be that the mandate of ‘knowledge is power’ was a highly regarded belief. Now, when everyone is able to access knowledge, it is being argued that policies need to be offered and enforced in harness and direct power effectively.

While good leadership recognizes the need to embed policies with regards to social media, it also recognizes the potential of social media to transform the way in which we work and drive organizational values and beliefs. Further, it has the ability to transform employee effectiveness.

In fact, in a worldwide study of its staff, AT&T found that:

  • a third of employees use social media to create team building opportunities
  • nearly 40% use social media to improve their knowledge that transforms their problem solving capability
  • almost half says social media is an enabler of creativity at work
  • two thirds said using social media at work makes them more efficient

Harnessing the power of social media with transformational leadership strategies

By embedding transformational leadership strategies, leaders will be helping employees embrace change in the workplace, and, as we all know, change is the only constant in the workplace. So just how can a leader embrace social media and use its power to encourage transformational engagement? Here are three transformational leadership strategies to make social media work for your organization, and not against it:

·       Believe in the power of transparency

Make it a course of action for all leaders to be transparent. Embed transparency as a key value in the organization, understanding that secrets have a way of leaking. This transparency flies in the face of traditional management style, where all information was disseminated on a need to know basis.

Everyone has a natural need to know: social media has an uncanny ability to satisfy that need, and commonly with misinformation. Be a leader among companies by being transparent.

·       Make sure that empowerment is a value observed

Don’t let unfettered social media empower your employees, insist that it is one of your key transformational leadership strategies.

Leaders who understand and engage in social media are better placed to empower their employees in the new communication age.

·       Inspire trust by trusting

I see leaders get this strategy wrong all the time. Trust has to be earned, but this isn’t achieved by proving time and again that trust in the leader is deserved. To gain trust a leader must first allow himself or herself to trust his or her employees.

To instigate sustainable transformational leadership strategies, rip up the rulebook of industrial age leadership and shape up for the age of social media. Trust employees to use knowledge constructively, and give them the power to engage in the values and beliefs – and the future vision – of a forward looking and employee friendly organization.

Contact Forward Focus today and discover how a Change Agent Bootcamp, and coaching in Consulting and Facilitating, will help your organization take advantage of the modern global collaborative workplace.

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