Social Leaders Aren't Always Lions
Colleen Burns 120000C4RP firstname.lastname@example.org | | Tags:  social_leadership social social_business femke_goedhart ibm_redbooks
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A few weeks back, a person I value greatly shared a video with me while we were discussing how to start moving a company into becoming a social business:
It depicts the process of leadership and how to start a movement -- something a lot of people are looking for when trying to find a way to implement social business. Sounds boring right? Actually, it’s not (as you probably know if you clicked that link and watched the video). You didn't? Okay, well I will sit here and wait while you do...
Why do I think this video is relevant to the discussion of how to start a social movement? Well, because when it comes to social business and the empowerment of the individual we still often feel we need strong fearless leaders to make it happen -- people who stand up and aren't afraid to be ridiculed and just take the first plunge. But is that really the only way?
We are all very eager to get started on our social business trek. We want this to happen. We want our companies to transform into social businesses, because we feel we have more to offer than we currently do. But, at the same time, we don’t see ourselves being that lone shirtless guy doing his wiggly dance with everyone watching! Or even that second guy who had the guts to stand up and join in acknowledging that first nut as a leader!
We grow up thinking leadership is the ultimate goal to strive for; but what is leadership? Is it being the CEO at a Fortune 500 company or being a loud-mouthed pioneer? Or is leadership also standing up when the office bully picks on someone? There are so many forms of leadership and not all of them are publicly recognized or even noticeable right away. Leadership can be as small as silently setting the example or taking the initiative to do something different to improve a process.
And sometimes it's those small unseen, unheard leaders who make the biggest impact. Social business is actually about those people. Not just the big brawny leaders who tell us how to do it, how to be social and how to transform, but those who don't brag about it but simply do it. Sharing one piece of knowledge at a time; investing their individuality into the process; finding ways to improve and helping others to see the benefit by setting small examples.
So it doesn't matter if you are that lone nut, a first follower, or simply one of those who sets the example in a small way. We all have impact, we all can make a difference and the first step really isn't that hard. It's simply to take a deep breath and start doing it. Being part of a social business after all isn't a strategy, it's a state of mind.
Femke Goedhart is a Business Consultant for Silverside, an IBM Premier Business Partner from The Netherlands. She specializes in document management, collaboration and social business; she is an avid blogger, and a speaker at several events including NLLUG, LCTY, and Lotusphere. Femke is actively involved in the online community and was recently honored as an IBM Champion. She is also a published IBM Redbooks author and is a contagious enthusiast about all things social.
Femke is an IBM Redbooks Thought Leader