This week I attended Julian Stodd‘s masterclass on “Social Leadership”.
“Social Leadership is not intended to replace other forms of Leadership”, writes Julian on his blog, “it’s complimentary”. He defines his NET Model of Social Leadership as a style of leadership suitable for the Social Age. It carries Leadership over, out of purely formal organisation spaces into the semi formal spaces that surround it : like in on-line communities & professional networks i.e.
This model consists of three Dimensions: Narrative (which covers ‘Curation’, ‘Storytelling’ and ‘Sharing’), Engagement (which looks at ‘Community’, ‘Reputation’ and ‘Authority’), and Technology (which explores ‘Co-Creation’, ‘Social Capital’ and ‘Collaboration’).
What I find interesting in this map is the holistic and contemporary approach. Also the suggestion that, in the Social Age, virtually everyone can become a Social Leader.
Here are a few ideas on 3 sub-dimensions that caught-up my particular attention during that inspiring day.
The first one is “Curation”. The first step in the Narrative dimension and also the very first step of the whole NET model. The word Curation seems to be on everyone’s lips at the moment, and not only in the Social Marketing field where “content is king”. Julian defines curation as “finding things out and determining what’s valid from what’s just noise. It’s about identifying networks and communities and seeing where the nodes and amplifiers sit. It’s about quality and coherence, not volume and mass.”
How do leaders choose a space to curate ? Are they Subject Matter Experts, do they act as mentors, or are they L&D practitioners / coaches? Which tools do they use and who is the audience ? Why curation needs agility and daily practice to stay relevant ? How do we proceed from discovery to perception, and from perception to interpretation, in order to create “magnetic stories” (as opposed to “push communications”) ?
Related post on Curation here following the mini-MOOC “How to be an efficient digital curator” I completed back in January.
— CedricBorzee (@CedricBorzee) March 12, 2014
A second sub-dimension is “Reputation”. In the Social Age, active reputation management is critical to establish Authority. Although it’s a different type of authority than the positional one inherited from the industrial era. Knowledge is not power anymore vs. sharing knowledge. Active reputation management starts with mapping the communities, locate them, identify their purpose and identity, establish the roles, support engagement, take time for reflection (and listening!) and then narrate. By doing so Social Leaders help others to see patterns and make sense of them, and then suggest new practices to enter the dimension of “Co-creation”.
The other sub-dimension I wanted to mention here is “Social Capital”. When Gutenberg invented the printing in Europe, people didn’t suddenly start reading books “en masse”. Most of them had to learn reading first I guess? Many Leaders from Gen X or above may still need to catch up on some social and collaborative tools today – not too late but it’s time as underlined by Brian Solis at LT14UK. Likely technology is here to stay… and to change again. In the meantime, we can’t assume that Digital Natives know how to use social tech in the workplace and for their own professional development. The last CIPD report on “Social Tech, Social Business” was quite clear on that question.
Increasing Social Capital and Digital Literacy are conditio sine qua non for Social Leadership to infiltrate large organisations IMHO. Reverse mentoring is regularly suggested as the solution : formal senior leaders share their experience and tacit knowledge while rookies show them how to catch up with collaborative tools and social networks… That may be part of the solution indeed: both humility and generosity are great fertilisers in the on-line space.
And certainly two qualities that Julian demonstrates with consistency. On and off-line.