As a digital native and young leader on the fringe of Gen Y, I instinctively rub shoulders with top-notch leaders on Twitter and in the blogosphere. I read them. I watch them. I learn from them. I might even talk to them. I know what they are up to.
In the circles I run in, Michael Hyatt, is the predominant example of a leader who ‘gets’ social media, technology, today’s changing business models and the wired world. Some days, it seems that I know more about him and his company than what’s going on in the organization I work for.
As the CEO of Thomas Nelson, a large book publisher, Michael has gathered a following and wonderfully mixes pushing his corporate message, with value-added content that helps me become a better leader. In turn, I read all his tweets and even have started looking at books to see if Thomas Nelson publishes them.
However, I’ve also realized that following leaders like Michael can create a “Why isn’t my leader like so-and-so?” effect. I can easily began to compare leaders around me to leaders I interact with virtually like Hyatt.
I can become cynical and dejected with questions and statements like, “Why doesn’t my CEO blog?” In today’s flat world, where I can access top-of-the-line everything with very little friction, here are a few thoughts.
2. Help your leaders learn the tools. For many leaders, it not that they don’t want to blog, they just don’t know how. It’s not natural for them. Sending an email and going to a website are the extent of their online skills. Be the person to come alongside your leader giving incremental tips to help them become more comfortable with digital tools. Something as simple as explaining and setting up Google Reader can go a long way for many.
3. Appreciate your leader for who they are. You can never give too much encouragement. Focus on the strengths your leader has instead of always being upset by their weaknesses in the digital realm. Your leader probably has some really strong skills that make them a great fit for their job. Don’t try to make them into someone they aren’t by comparing them with your favorite CEO, writer or pastor.
4. Realize you can change the world without the internet. This often feels hard for me to believe, but many have done it. Jesus, Wilberforce and Mandela all did it without Twitter.
I think being online for a leader is more important than ever, but I’m also learning to normalize my expectations. How do you deal with the “why isn’t my leader like so-and-so” effect?