Nelson Mandela, Aung San Suu Kyi, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Abraham Lincoln—all incredible social leaders who impacted the world in which they operated. Their success had nothing to do with being online, being on the right channels or knowing what time to post. It was about the ability to bring people together, facilitate agreements through communication, and collaborate to drive efforts towards one common direction. A social leader has the vision to bring about change and the ability to convince others that it can be done.
There are the traditional characteristics that make up a good leader. But to be a social leader, you need to have certain traits that make you enigmatic. These traits are what give some leaders an aura, a charm that makes other people want to work for them. They are the ability to:
- Be open-minded
- Have confidence
- Be proactive
If you’ve got the five characteristics above, then you can start focusing on the following actions to get things done:
Bring People Together
If you’ve ever worked with someone who’s great at disaster management, you know how powerful the ability to bring people together is. Bringing people together around a cause, be it to achieve a goal for the organization or to create a movement to drive a movement, is the most important action that social leaders can perform.
Action 1: Bring people together by following the ripple effect—reach out to your closest, most trusted network and have them do the same. The number of people you’re able to connect is directly proportional to the strength of your core group of people.
We all know that just because people are close-knit or are part of the same team doesn’t mean they have the same views. In fact, having a healthy amount of conflict is a defining factor of the strongest teams. As a social leader, you must be able to facilitate agreements as these differences arise.
Action 2: A social leader will never take sides. To get people to come to agreements, you must facilitate the communications and follow up on actions afterwards. Let people come to their decisions. You just have to make sure that they get there.
Communicate and Collaborate
Email, phone calls, meetings, just talking to someone while you get from point A to point B—it’s all part of the daily routine of a social leader. There’s usually no such thing as “it’s too late to talk now.” Social leaders will communicate and collaborate as the thought strikes when a personal drive is at the highest.
Action 3: Social leaders aren’t afraid of talking out half-baked ideas. In fact, they know that conversation and collaboration is one of the best ways to mold and grow a concept rather than thinking about it on their own. In short, many heads are better than one.
It takes a very special kind of personality to be a truly social leader. One who believes in the power of others, who knows they’re not always right, and who accepts that there is always something more to be learned. I think if you’re able to ascend to this type of leadership, you’ll probably have a lot more fun getting things done.
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