As the business world becomes more digital, it also becomes more social - this is especially true as Millennials become a greater percentage of the workforce. Being digitally engaged presents a conundrum to many brand leaders, who sense that they, too, should be digitally engaged, but have no idea how to proceed without getting caught in an unproductive time trap. Also, they don't want to embarrass themselves and their brand.
As Charlene Li, Founder and CEO of Altimeter Group, discusses on this podcast recording, there are four pivotal elements on the road to becoming an engaged leader. In addition to leading Altimeter, Li is the author or co-author of several best-selling books, including Open Leadership and Groundswell. Her newest book, The Engaged Leader: A Strategy for Your Digital Transformation, focuses on these four areas.
1. Listen at Scale
Listening at scale is about listening to what's being said in social without being overwhelmed by the amount of information available. It's both an art and a science - the science is using technology to listen. The art is in choosing to what you will listen. Use the technology to filter all the social noise so you can pay attention to what you need to hear.
How will you know what you need to hear? By referencing your leadership goals. From your goals, determine which voices will be most instrumental in helping you accomplish your goals.
2. Sharing to Shape
As a leader, everything you do is purposeful. When you share something, it shouldn't be random, it should be something that helps you shape your relationship with your followers.
In the podcast, Li relates the story of a UPS district manager who wanted to break down barriers between herself and the 17,000 people she managed. Realizing that those people communicated with each other on Twitter, she set out to use Twitter to share content that would open lines of communication. That was a big commitment for her, as she was not a digital native and certainly wasn't very comfortable in the digital space when she started. But, a few months later, when a young driver she recognized from Twitter came to her office to speak with her in person, she knew her efforts were succeeding.
3. Engage to Transform
Listening and sharing are important, but the next element can be transformational - engagement. As a leader, how you engage with followers transforms your relationship with them, and by being open to engagement with them, it can change you, too.
Many brand leaders don't want to engage with their employees, but they do want their employees to be engaged. You can't have it both ways. Either you're part of the conversation or you're not, which leads to #4.
4. Transform to Organize
Engaging your employees digitally can lead to a workforce that's more engaged with each other, and the brand, at every level. With leaders engaged, it's no longer a question of a handful of managers or departments leading organizational change. Everyone's now a part of it. Everyone contributes.
As Li notes in the podcast, "Digital is the way that you run companies and engage with your employees in a global organization. They have to get good at this."
On This Social Business Engine Podcast Episode You'll Discover
- Why Li wrote The Engaged Leader to address the leadership issue of credibility.
- How Li's advice to leaders new to digital is not to publish what they had for lunch, but what they talked about over lunch.
- Why Li says employee engagement is at an all-time low and how some leaders may not want engaged employees because it can be painful and time-consuming.
- How Li's "one thing" is for leaders to focus on one top objective and think about how engagement is rooted into that top objective.