What does leadership look like in the digital age?
Fundamentally, leadership stays the same. The objective of leadership remains to paint a compelling vision of the future and to then rally others around creating it.
However, the visibility of leadership has changed thanks to the internet and social media.
Leaders should embrace the tools that come with this change because it allows them to communicate their vision more consistently, to truly lead from the front, and to be more human.
As a leader, you have the opportunity to consistently show up and communicate your vision and dedication to your followers. Digital has made this easy for you. All you need to do is simply choose the channel of communication that best suits your style and strengths.
Prefer writing? Jot down a weekly email or tweet that inspires or informs those around you.
Prefer talking? Record a quick video on your phone.
Great leaders understand the importance of communication.
How awesome that a leader’s voice can now extend beyond the boardroom and the annual letter to shareholders.
Truly lead from the front
Apart from the words that you use to communicate there is another intrinsic benefit to this consistent act. Your people see your commitment. The words you write become less important than the act of consistently showing up.
For the past few years I have written a daily email that goes out to over 17,000 subscribers. I often hear that the thing that inspires readers the most is not the words but the consistent action. You cannot fake it when you are leading with visibility.
One thing that has always been true is that leaders need to lead by example. Never has it been truer than in a world where our actions are amplified and then magnified. It comes down to this. As leader, you cannot say one thing and do another. You shouldn’t have to.
If you are leading authentically then your actions and your words will live in perfect harmony. And the life that people see on Instagram will not clash with what they see in the boardroom.
An obscured leader cannot lead from the front. Leaders need to be visible.
I often speak to incredible leaders who are afraid of embracing the digital era. Specifically, they fear “showcasing” themselves on social media. They do not want to come across as promotional, narcissistic, or flawed.
However, the opposite usually happens. When people get to see the other side of you they connect on a deeper level. You become human. And as a leader, this is a good thing to be.
Does this mean you should splash your entire life across the digital ecosystem?
You still need to be selective. But it is ok to let people in to your world.
As a leader, you can make a profound impact that reverberates beyond the walls of your company. An impact that affects your employees, your customers, and even those watching you from the sidelines.
Digital media shines a spotlight on your leadership. Embrace it.