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Leadership lessons from social media

3 min read


Leadership lessons from the online world extend beyond the content. Learn as much from watching what bloggers do, as what they say.

1. Say what matters: In social media, people say what they mean. Be as brave in your leadership as you are in your tweeting. Show up a little messy. Real attracts more than conformance. Attract followers by showing up real.

2. Build your own tribe: Social media leaders know they don’t need a title to be a leader. Some don’t even use their real name. In your daily leadership, lead from your passion. Start something you care about and see who shows up.  Lead from where you are.

3. Take risks. Try new styles, new ways of leading. Meet new people. Twitter users move from tweets to phone calls to friendships. Try new ways of connecting in your leadership. Try new approaches.

4. Rankings don’t define you or your work: In business we often get hung up in our place in the organization structure or our position on the performance potential grid. The blogging crowd knows that even the most reputable lists are often subjective, and based on a variety of factors. Care less about lists and more about influence. Work toward influence not rankings.

5. Less is more: More words don’t mean better thinking. Streamline communication. Find the main idea. Take out extra words. Communicate in a way your followers can hear. Create “tweetable” leadership memories. Communicate to influence.

6. Engage conversation: Ask questions. Invite divergent views. Join conversations.  Insert yourself into conversations that matter.

7. Attract creativity: Be interesting. Be different.  Don’t fit in. Don’t just do your leadership equivalent of a “retweet.”  Make a ruckus.

8. Share everything you know: Leadership is not a competition. It’s about influence, not credit. Share winning ideas. Spread the great ideas of others. Don’t hold back for the right time, or the right medium, or the right market. Put seedling ideas into the world so they can grow.

9. Seek out people to challenge you: Hang out with people who disagree. Find people who can make you better. Find out what you can do for them. Grow together. Look for mentors in unusual places.

10. Seek first to support: The social media crowd is based on giving. They tweet others as they would like to be tweeted. Bring more of that to your leadership. Offer guidance. Help others get established. Forget networking. Focus on collaboration. Give without expectation.

What have you learned about leadership through social media?

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Karin Hurt is an experienced executive leading in a Fortune 15 company. Her blog, Let’s Grow Leaders, supports leaders at all levels experiencing important “in betweens” (new roles, organization layers, transformations, transitions, values clashes, and work & family).  Connect with Karin at, on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.