January 2016 | Nano Tools | Leadership
Nano Tools for Leaders® are fast, effective leadership tools that you can learn and start using in less than 15 minutes — with the potential to significantly impact your success as a leader and the engagement and productivity of the people you lead.
Contributor: Nancy Rothbard, PhD, David Pottruck Professor of Management, The Wharton School
Choose a deliberate social media strategy that builds your professional reputation and enhances work relationships.
Thanks to social media, we now have many channels for interacting with the people we work with. But unlike face-to-face communication, social media doesn’t give us all the clues we need (such as facial expressions and body language) to help us tailor our message in cyberspace. Wharton research identifies four strategies for managing both what we communicate and who will see it, each of which has its own set of consequences for how we are respected and liked at work. They range from being open and authentic, freely sharing many types of information, to creating self-enhancing content that gets shared with select audiences.
Before you choose a strategy, determine your goals for social media. Do you want to express yourself or impress others? Do you want to let everyone in on everything you’re doing, or do you want to be more aware of your professional reputation and how you are perceived by others? Decide how much, or how little, impression management matters to you.
Then, assess your current social media strategy (or lack thereof) and its fit with your professional context. For example, in Law, the norm is that lawyers should not be connected with judges. If you work at a technology start-up company, the norm and the culture may be that everyone is connected via online chats, Facebook, and Instagram, and that’s how you interact with one another. Be aware of both your personal preferences and your environment, and how the two fit together.
Finally, assess your current strategy and its ability to help you accomplish your goals. Instead of waiting for a potential problem, be ready to adjust your strategy if it poses potential risks or if another strategy would help you reach your goals more effectively.
These four strategies are archetypes; they can be used both exclusively and combined as hybrids.
While many CEOs are venturing into social media, some are more successful than others — no matter which strategy they choose. Here are two who are getting it right.
As American author, businessman, and speaker Zig Ziglar said, “Some of us learn from other people’s mistakes, the rest of us have to be the other people.” To avoid the dangers of falling into that second category, here are a few examples of how social media blunders can instantly wipe out years of career success.
Nano Tools for Leaders® was conceived and developed by Deb Giffen, MCC, Director of Innovative Learning Solutions at Wharton Executive Education. It is jointly sponsored by Wharton Executive Education and Wharton’s Center for Leadership and Change Management, Wharton Professor of Management Michael Useem, Director. Nano Tools Academic Director is Professor John Paul MacDuffie, Professor of Management at the Wharton School and Director of the Program on Vehicle and Mobility Innovation (PVMI) at Wharton’s Mack Institute for Innovation Management.
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