The Boss and Leading by Example

Last night, I participated in a cool business book talk via a Google Hangout. They had read my book, Face2Face, and invited me to hang out for an hour and be part of the discussion around, well, my book. [ok – that was the first time I met a group of people who read my book … and that was pretty darn cool!].

One of the questions I answered had to do with what “the boss” – the manager, the administrator, the CEO – should do with blogging and with social media in general. Should they be there? Should they participate? What if they’re busy? How about setting up an account, and being sort of a ghostwriter for them?

I gave an answer … and hope I didn’t offend “the boss” in the room! Afterwards, I thought of a slightly better answer. So here it is!

Should “the boss” do social media, blog, etc? The answer is … it depends. Here’s what I mean:

  • Leading by example. Does your organization have a goal of getting more staff up to speed with technology, with social media, with making online connections? Then yes – the boss needs to, at the least, understand how social media works, what can realistically be accomplished there, and understand what ROI in those spaces means. Even better – if the boss actually uses social media, and maybe even participates once in awhile on the organizational account.
  • It’s in the strategic plan. If part of your organization’s strategic plan is to make social media connections, then … it depends! Yes – you need to understand it, and probably use it (i.e., have an active Facebook presence, use Twitter, etc). But do you need to take a leadership role in the organization’s Facebook presence, or write blog posts for the organization? No – not necessarily. If it’s a goal and you are a really small organization, then yes – probably so. But if you have a lot of staff and can assign the work out, then probably no – you most likely have other just-as-important things to do.
  • Your customers don’t use social media. Then no, it’s not important. (though I’d question the research done on your customer base!).
  • Ghostwriting – is that ever ok? No. Period. Either write it yourself – because you are probably passionate about what you do, and that will shine through – or just don’t do it. Being real and authentic is important, and will come out – in writing, and especially in social media. So again – just don’t do it.

So – yes or no? Or Maybe? What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this!

photo by las – initially