I have a two-year experience of writing blogs as part of my work and a six-month experience of using work related shared documents and online discussion groups on Facebook and Yammer. During the past six months I’ve also dedicated to the latest research and literature of social media, and led discussion groups on Facebook for my MBA dissertation research for data collection of the theme social media leadership. Regarding to my experiences as a vice principal in an adult education organisation and studying social media leadership, I’m convinced that there is a need for a social media leadership theory to clarify the phenomenon of using social media as part of leadership.
Charlene Li has created an open leadership theory that considers the key issue; sharing by using social media tools. This changes the organisation culture transparent and therefore there is a need for transforming organisation culture. Li also defines four open leadership archetypes mind-sets for social media users:1) Cautious Tester, 2) Worried Skeptic, 3) Realist Optimist and 4) Transparent Evangelist. I’m sure we all can recognise these kind of social media users from our workplaces. Charlene Li’s open leadership theory considers the basics for the social media leadership theory. But there is a need to develop more detailed social media leadership theory, based on the transformation of communication from face-to-face leadership, offline- working culture to the new online-offline working culture.
The more detailed social media leadership theory should focus on renewing manager’s leadership skills to see the perspectives from employee’s privacy - publicity issues to different openness levels (intra-, extra- and internet) of the organisation. The social media leadership theory should also contain cultural issues broader from social media users (e.g. age, gender, religious and nation) to also organisation, society and global issues because the Internet based social media is both person’s private and global working tool.
The more detailed social media leadership theory should demonstrate manager’s social media communication skills such as: online writing/drawing, using of images/videos, online chats, talking online, video conferences, document sharing, micro-blogging, the use of work related social media networking tools (e.g blogs, Skype, Facebook, Twitter, Yammer and LinkedIn), leading of online discussions and projects, legal issues (e.g. who owns the online materials and privacy-publicity of the organisation), monitoring and evaluating the risks of using social media. The list is not the final because new social media solutions are created all the time and therefore there is a need to renew manager’s social media leadership skills continuously and to keep up open mind for new solutions in this changing world.
Happy New Social Media Leadership Year 2011!