Guest Post by Ted Coiné, Co-author A World Gone Social
What used to seem very good leadership practices in the Industrial Age was good, or at least efficient. But the Industrial Age is over. And it’s not coming back. It’s the Social Age now, and it will be for quite some time to come.
New age, New rules.
We humans are social down to our very core – it’s not just what we do, it’s what we are. Connecting with each other, sharing ideas, news, tips – and sometimes warnings – that’s all we’ve ever done. First our connecting was limited to the physical proximity of our tribe or village. Then letters tied us one by one over distances, then phone lines did; then email and texting. But it was limited in scope, just one person connecting with one other, or maybe numerous others, but certainly not with everyone all at once.
Now 2 billion of us are plugged in, and more are coming online every day. Now the entire globe is smartening its phones and carrying the entire Web around in its front right pockets. Now everyone, the whole world, is just a thumb-press or two away.
Remember the idea of six degrees of separation? Six degrees is literally down to one or two now. Through social, you – your customers, your employees, your vendors, your government regulators, and even your competitors – are all just one or two social connections from each other.
And they’re all talking to each other, with or without you.
- This is driving many PR professionals nuts, because nobody will listen to them when they stray too far from the truth.
- It’s inspiring some corporate recruiters to pull their hair out, if they happen to represent less-than-desirable employers, because current and past employees are speaking to each other and to potential workmates.
- Within our organizations, too, this unfettered connecting is what’s killing our corporate leaders’ beliefs that “knowledge is power, and so it must be regulated carefully.” When everyone has knowledge, where does power even come from anymore?
What does this mean for your leadership?
You’re either going to love leading in the Social Age, or you’ll hate it, depending on your outlook. Regardless, none of us gets a vote on these three changes to how we lead at work:
1. In the Social Age, transparency rules.
Peel back this grossly-overused buzzword and explore what transparency really means to you and your company. It means there’s no hiding – lies are either ignored or plastered all over the Internet.
Companies that are led ethically have a huge advantage.
2. In the Social Age, empowerment isn’t an option.
The trick to employee empowerment is who is doing the empowering. Too often leaders talk about giving more power to employees.
In the Social Age, employees are empowering themselves. Wise leaders delight in this, and facilitate it.
3. In the Social Age, it’s all about trust.
Like empowerment, most leaders get this exactly wrong. The trust imperative isn’t about getting others to trust you as a leader: it’s all about trusting your people to show up at work like the mature, responsible adults you hired them to be.
This means tearing up rulebooks, discarding policy manuals, and backing off the stifling metrics Industrial Age management used to make sure no one was stepping out of line.
In the Social Age, there is no line to step out of. In this economy, only the inventive will survive – and only trusted employees have the room they need to invent your future.
Note from Jesse: I am delighted to host this guest post by Ted Coiné, which highlights one of the messages in his highly acclaimed new book, with co-author Mark Babbitt, A World Gone Social: How Companies Must Adapt to Survive. – THE guidebook for how to thrive in the Social Age.
You’ll discover what it means to create an “OPEN” network of partners, collaborators—even competitors. You’ll learn why nimble and collaborative organizations will ultimately outlive companies unwilling to change. And you’ll find the tools you need to build a strong, socially enabled team.
I love this book! Relevant, practical, easy to read, and packed with analysis of real-world scenarios and indispensable guidance. I was so fascinated I couldn’t put it down, and I predict you won’t either!
Ted Coiné is co-founder of Switch and Shift, a leadership community that believes organizations – in order to thrive in the Social Age – must build trust-based relationships, lead with purpose, and enable employees to do work that matters. A noted blogger and speaker, Ted was recently named a Forbes Top 10 Social Media Power Influencer. Connect with Ted on Facebook (Switch & Shift), Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+