A common leadership mistake online

Social media is transforming leadership. Leadership platforms are growing beyond a single organization or peer group. You and I have the ability to influence people on a far greater scale than ever before. But what is a platform for?

The most common mistake of leaders is the desire to be seen. Obviously, every leader desires to help people do more. But most leaders are getting frustrated by the lack of "following" through social media channels. Twitter for example, is abundant with leaders that follow 20K people just so they will be followed by 15k people. Is there an actual exchange or conversation in these situations? Most often, the answer is no.

Have you ever tried to get a celebrity or leader of a specific field to notice you online? I know I have. We want to add something of value, something that another leader will see us as gifted people.

But what if the most effective leader is the one who gets online to see others. In many sports you might hear the phrase, "Eye in the sky doesn't lie." Sports teams don't video record their games and practices so the coach can sit in a film session and say things like, "Look at what I'm doing right there. See how I did that? That's a great call on my part." That would be absurd. But that's how many leaders view leadership online.

Which leader do you want to be? Every leader has a decision to make online: focus on others or focus on themselves. Great leaders know the difference between my thing and our thing. My thing is limited to my abilities and talents but our thing has the potential of the collective gifts in the tribe.

Are you engaged?

Most leaders would say, "I want to be engaging." I think leaders mean it in the way that Merriam-Webster defines it as a transitive verb on 5 A and B (Click to see definition). We want to hold the attention of people. Our organizations want to hold the attention of people. As leaders we want this with our teams, but have we stopped to look up from our work and notice what holds the attention of the people we lead? Without A there is no B, yet we want to hold the attention of the people so that they will be induced to participate. See, this is where leaders are asking the wrong questions when it comes to being involved in social media. Leaders will lean towards the thinking of, "Will people pay attention to me if I put effort into social media?" We are so accustomed to leading the charge that we think all eyes are supposed to be on us. But it's time for us to bring the backwards-ness (I made up that word) of the Gospel to social media. Leaders should be asking, "Do I see what's important to the people I lead on social media? Am I engaged in the place where the people I lead are sharing their lives? Do I see what has them burning with passion on social media?" This is the Gospel, not that we are trying to influence people to believe what we believe, but that we are sharing life with them.

This is how people in leadership are dropping the ball with social media. They think, "I don't want to have to put in the work so that people can see me," instead of putting in the time so they can say, "I see YOU and what YOU are doing is significant!"

Leaders, I have to ask you: are you engaged? Is your attention on the lives of your people and are you induced to participate in their lives? Or is everything about you?

Do you see organizations or leaders who are engaging the lives of their people? Please share if you do!