This post on internal social media got a lot of interest. Many choose to write to me directly and air their views rather than post it online! Reactions included – ‘this is so true’, ‘we see this in our firm’ and ‘leaders need to stand up’.
Kapil’s uneasiness is probably stemming from his inability to understand the true meaning of ‘social media’.
Social media is democratic and there will always be pros and cons of inviting employees to participate.
In today’s evolving business context there is no easy way to gain engagement though social media. It however begins with the openness to listen, appreciate different viewpoints and know that you may not always be right. Also, there will never be consensus and everyone may not like all decisions an organization makes. Using social media internally and having leaders engage is a journey.
Here are a few recommendations that Rajiv can offer to Kapil to help him along the journey.
- Teach leaders to fail: The fear of failure is very tough to overcome. Kapil can cushion the pain by showing that getting negative flak isn’t a bad thing after all.It is best to get knocked down internally that outside and learn from the experience.
- Show your personal side: It is important to be real on social media. You can’t fake it online – you will get caught if your actions don’t match your words. Create a page that reflects your personality. Add content to show your human side as a leader. It can be images or some anecdotal references that helped you learn along the way. Share it with your followers online.
- Be thankful you get feedback: I always believe that if you are getting feedback and direct honest comments you are blessed. There is no better way to know how you fare. What is the use of feedback which is sugar coated? How will one get better?
- Learn how to appreciate feedback – positive or negative: It is cultural at times – in some countries hearing negative feedback seems like a personal attack. It often isn’t. It is just a way to surface how people think. Be open to listening what people have to say.
- Demonstrate you mean business: Block time to respond – even if it is once a day find those 10 minutes to write back a suitable response or commit to calling back. Your employees will take you seriously if they see you are keen to get better.
- Employees are human and forgiving: No one believes anyone is perfect. We all have our imperfections and that is what makes us real. As a leader it helps to accept and admit when you have gone wrong and show how you plan to get better. It is simple and yet tough. Simple – cause it takes a few minutes to admit but tough to walk the talk once you have made the commitment to change.
- Seek help from youngsters: Employees are willing to help – they know social media well and can help you learn as you go along. In fact, everyone is learning – no one can claim to have got it right with internal or external social media. If there is a reverse mentoring program ensure you sign up. Just another way to show that you mean business.
What do you think?