May 18, 2011

What Makes a Great Leader?

Hint: It's Not on Your Business Card

You and I can think of those precious few people who have influenced our lives. They may be current or past direct reports, family members, friends or colleagues. Their contribution has been significant and has helped shape how we navigate the world.

We often say the person who is highest in the company’s organizational chart is the leader. But is that accurate in all cases? According to Wikipedia, leadership is the process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task. Well doesn’t that sound warm and fuzzy.

Is that how we describe those people who have touched our lives and made us better?
Is that what we aspire to be and do as we drive business and personal growth?


Last fall, Steve Woodruff and Lisa Petrilli began a one-hour session on Twitter which happens Tuesdays at 8pm Eastern called Leadershipchat. Each week, they pick a topic or a guest co-host and anyone can contribute to the conversation. Feel free to join in.

There are hundreds of microblogging chats each week but leadershipchat is one I try not to miss. There are smart, insightful and helpful people and the hour goes by like it’s been ten minutes. If you are not on Twitter, simply go to, type in “leadershipchat” or visit for transcripts.

This week’s topic was Leadership and Social Media.
Here are a few of the many highlights.

@LouImbriano If a leader hides from social media or any other method to communicate their message, then he/she is not a leader at all.

@ldiomede those who don't embrace change finish last.

@reginaconsults You need to know how to follow to lead. Otherwise how can you appreciate and empathize with your followers when leading

@tmustacchio 1% - most claim no time! RT @pegsta1: Anyone had any success getting their sales staff on board with Social Media?

@GailZahtz Poor leaders do want to be surrounded by yes men!

@ronenns SM is a great tool for employees to affect change. Pull the reluctant org or CEO into the conversation.

@Chris_Eh_Young If you think you're a leader but nobody is following you,you're just going for a walk. John C. Maxwell

@chieflemonhead SM is a platform - what it stands for a philosophy: open, honest, authentic. Those are key traits of today's leaders.

@thehealthmaven Good leaders charge ahead, no matter what arrows their critics are throwing

@swoodruff Face-to-face is crucial - SM is not a replacement.
Should be an enhancement.

@knealemann - @MatthewLiberty - Any outbound channel.Improved internal customer service creates improved external customer service.

@Starbucker SM just another form of communication. Good leader can communicate effectively. Why shouldn't leaders use SM?

@Grit08 SM helps leaders to connect to a multitude of conversations at a pace never experienced before and filter noise

@samfiorella: Best way for corp leaders to lead in SM is to step back, listen.

@gdahlby I agree that larger organizations have a more difficult time in keeping a narrow forcus on the SM message and methods.

@efrainm RT @knealemann: No one enjoys feeling lost or stupid, so never assume they don't “get it”. Help them.

@GailZahtz Influence in SM is about relationships and what value you BRING
to those relationships.

@ddcronkh For HR managers, social media has to be the greatest gift.It's self-made pre-screening.

@johnmbernard People want to know their leaders and SM gives them a chance to connect, to talk, to exchange ideas.

Kneale Mann

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© Kneale Mann people + priority = profit
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