in Career Development

Social Media and Leadership Success: A Few Parallels

When I first learned playing Guitar, I focused too much on notes, specifics and techniques. The more I practiced, the more I realized that notes, specifics and techniques are important for producing good music, but not sufficient.

So what was missing? The starting point of becoming a good artist is to have an emotion, an intent. Once you can touch the emotion and are intentional about it, tools and techniques are generally not difficult to master. Music played with technique may entertain us at the best but music played with emotion can move us.

In casual conversations, a lot of friends express a desire to start a blog. This desire is mostly fueled by success of others. They seek help in starting a blog, in creating a Facebook fan page and a Twitter account. Here’s what I tell them:

The intent of connecting with others meaningfully is at the heart of social media (and leadership) success. With intent comes emotion which leads to difference. It is about liking people, interacting with them, learning from them and contributing back.

It is not about being like someone else, not about ability to use tools but about being your authentic and credible self. Once you are intentional and have right emotion to feel the content (be it music, writing, social media, programming, whatever), tools and techniques are easy to learn.

Unfortunately, most people do the inverse. They first focus on tricks and techniques and then search for emotional connect. Even before they start doing something, they want to measure their success. They end up spreading themselves thin on various social channels and often create noise.

Finally, like any other successful journeys, social media is a process and not a destination. Here again, intent and emotion fuels us through the road. I have seen companies hiring a social media marketing lead and expecting immediate business leads. It seldom happens.

Once you understand the four aspects below, you will do better, not only in social media but in other areas of life as well:

  • Be intentional. Develop an internal need to do something before attempting it.
  • Fuel it with emotion. Understand the impact of what you say and do. Be passionate.
  • In the beginning, don’t measure. Focus on contribution, not on results. Later, measure right things.
  • Enjoy the journey. Seek out new avenues. Connect meaningfully with others. Make a difference.

Join in the conversation: How do you use social media? What parallels can you draw that can help us in other areas of life and work?

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Note: This ideas in this post emerged while talking to Becky Robinson at Weaving Influence – as the name of her blog suggests, she uses social media to connect authors with online audiences, weave an influence and make a difference. Thanks Becky!

  1. In their book “the Heart of Change”, John P Kotter and Dan S Cohen also have sensually touched the nerve cords of emotions that alter behavior [sufficiently to overcome all the many barriers to sensible large-scale change.]
    Many leading management thinkers also prescribe maintaining the blend of art in very hard core rational management processes, because when all is said and done the principles and practice of management profession rests on human beings.
    And human beings can be moved, to do almost anything, if the emotional nerve is tickled.
    So, it is no wonder that liberal arts, like music or painting or acting or creating fiction blossoms up when the techniques seamlessly blend with emotions – of the creator, and in turn of the recipients.
    Whether in liberal arts or in the case of management practice or leadership [in all and any walk of the life]case histories, those who have succeeded in touching the nerve chord of the target constituency have been observed to be more acceptable [or what is loosely termed as, popular]over the short to long term time frames.
    That is the reason why the maturity of the emotion-movers, to balance the power to move the constituents for their benefit rather than own benefits remains rare, because the power of popularity is likely to corrupt easily and totally. This is the result of inebriety of power impacting the “heart” or the emotions far more than the “mind” or thoughts.

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