What’s the leader really thinking? Should they say?

What’s the leader really thinking? Should they say?

Should a leader share stream of consciousness thinking by keeping a blog and tweeting frequently?  Or does that somehow diminish their stature and open them up to criticism of random, injudicious thoughts that might slip out.  Never mind making corporate lawyers nervous.

Let’s look at a series of “If” and “Then” statements to decide:

  • If you believe leadership at its essence is influencing people…
  • If you believe people are frequently wondering what’s on their leaders’  minds…
  • If you believe research that says 50% of an employee’s level of engagement is tied to their job and their direct supervisor and the other 50% is a sense of being part of a “mission or purpose that makes me feel important”…
  • And if you believe it is the leader’s job to communicate the importance of the firm’s mission and to show people how they individually help serve that mission…

Then…yes, leaders should use online leadership tools — blogs and Twitter – to frequently share their thoughts.

Here are the caveats, however.

  • If you post random, stream of consciousness musings, then you will quickly become boring and be seen as self-serving.
  • If you are reacting to events, legislation, market data, etc. then you are probably offering critiques and complaints which are not expressing leadership.  Instead you implicitly or explicitly communicate how outside events — often not within your control –affect you; most likely negatively affect you — and diminish your strength as a leader.

However,

If you use themes in speaking of and reinforcing core values of the firm…
If you make these themes interesting with examples, anecdotes, photos and video…
If you offer insights as to how these stories and events move, inspire, anger (occasionally), relieve, or encourage you…

THEN you are ready to regularly blog and tweet to your people to give them insight on what is occupying your mind, what moves you, how they can relate by seeing stories of other people like them so they feel greater connection to you and a higher level of engagement with the company’s mission and purpose.

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