social media

What do leaders (and future leaders) need to do to remain relevant?

Are you fit for the future? Try these 3 practices for future leaders

“Reskilling and retraining the existing workforce are essential levers to fuel future economic growth, enhance societal resilience in the face of technological change and pave the way for future-ready education systems for the next generation of workers.” (Source, WEF.)

The most powerful tool for leadership, since the introduction of the iPhone, is social media via the internet and intranet. Everyone is using Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media tools every day. For leaders, Workplace, Yammer, Slack and Stride are the new tools for internal social media on your own intranet. For leaders, the secret of success on social media is practical and pragmatic.

At Hargraves, we believe that future leadership involves innovation. Change is occurring faster than ever.

Disruption happens when change is imposed upon you – it can be negative and stressful. Innovation is when you are in control of change – it is positive and empowering.

Below are 3 simple practices that successfully connect innovation and change using social media for leaders of the future. (Special thanks to Scott Ward of Digital Infusions, Ben Elias of Collabital and Simon Terry of Change Agents Worldwide for their insights and ideas for this blog.)

Idea 1

In it’s simplest version, innovation consists of 3 elements; see, think and do, corresponding to insight, ideas and action. Social also has 3 elements; a like, a comment and a post.

Pragmatically, a like is acknowledgement of an insight. The reader acknowledges that the information is positive, valuable and worthwhile. A comment requires more thinking and analysis or creativity. A comment is like an idea that can build or reduce the original comment or thought. Finally, a post is a clear action requiring effort and commitment to complete. Bravery and initiative are also part of posting in the same way as they are part of innovation.

Recognising this simple alignment allows leaders to use social for innovation and importantly for helping innovation to happen.

Idea 2

For leaders, consider being ‘interested rather than interesting’ on social media. This means that leaders should respond to the social content and connect with others and their teams, rather than broadcast their ideas and actions. Being part of the community gives leaders a unique insight into what is happening in their community every day.

Idea 3

Finally, everyone is busy. Finding time in the day to engage with social media is tough. The recommendation is to spend three small amounts of time each day at the start, the middle and near the end of the day engaging with social.

At the start of the day, write a simple post about your day, what you are doing, where you are going or a comment about the news. Just one post will be enough. In the middle of the day make comments about discussions and posts of others. Two or three comments are enough. Finally, at the end of the day, ‘like’ the multiple comments and discussions you have seen that grabbed your attention during the day. Make this a habit. When you have your first morning coffee, before lunch and just as you finish the day or start to relax.

These 3 simple practices will help engage you with your social. They don’t reduce or change existing practices and activities, they are complementary.

The secret is consistency.

Do these small things every day and the power of these new tools can underpin your existing leadership practices.


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Written by Allan Ryan, Executive Director, Hargraves Institute in collaboration with: Scott Ward of Digital Infusions, Ben Elias of Collabital and Simon Terry of Change Agents Worldwide

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