Web sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. are being harvested to seek out information about recruits or employees everyday. These spaces are crawled through to locate information about IP that is being talked about, organizationally sensitive matters that are being discussed or patterns of behaviours that are being documented by what is now termed as big brother organizations overseeing social activities of those under their employ.
There are organizations that also have policies around social network use, both in its functional capacity, as well those surrounding its content as well as the contextual framework as it applies to the organizational setting.
We have evidence of contrasting opinions across the board that tells us of the relevance of the social space and what impact it will have on our lives. To begin, let's start with Eric Schmidt who spoke at Bloomberg a few years ago (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rD_x9LW5QRg) and toyed with the idea that the President of the future could be uploading something completely inappropriate, per our current social norms and standards today. The question he poses however is, will it be a concern when s/he is ready to take that step into that political arena or not? As a society we are getting more digitally socialized each day, so does it matter or would all the candidates be on equal standing with their peers, of videos they may have uploaded in their youth, that would then be considered acceptable forms of behaviour?
A recent article spoke of How Facebook was making us miserable (http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2011/12/facebook_is_making_us_miserabl.html?cm_mmc=email-_-newsletter-_-technology-_-technology122011&referral=00208&utm_source=newsletter_technology&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=technology122011) and the whole phenomenon was getting to a point of constant one-upness, with no real end in sight.
The Crest edition of the Times of India further added (http://www.timescrest.com/society/losing-friends-6917) to the previous article by noting feature sets that are turning people away from popular social spaces, with recent losses due to the Privacy Commissioner's precedent setting moves in Canada.
Let's turn our attention back to the corporate setting - we know now that there are technology disruptor's that are going to enhance who/how/what we as a people are. Some of them start out quite simply as us being followed by the shopping carts we use (http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2011/12/shopping_carts_will_track_cons.html?cm_mmc=email-_-newsletter-_-technology-_-technology122011&referral=00208&utm_source=newsletter_technology&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=technology122011). But let's take this further, what happens if we digitize the entire experience as we know it is; how information is out there of a singular individual and how much do we use of that within the corporate sector?
Now, we are all not naive enough to believe that a thorough study of high security clearance individuals, military contractors, etc. are not run through the ringer of profile development, but what do we really know about people we work with, for or that work for us?
The Leadership "Social" Action I am proposing is the notion that we need to know our people. The social space and what it represents has existed in many forms, from the stone to the concrete ages, and I would venture a guess, will exist in whatever age we will find ourselves in, in the future. Social technologies have leveraged only a larger social dialogue, arguably one that is being organized a bit better over time.
I am asking however, how many of formal leaders take the time to ensure they are not unreachable, and inaccessible due to the multi-layered, geographically diverse and matrix mayhem we traditionally are presented with? How many take the time to know who they are leading and who they are not? This is not an exercise in knowing about the family pet's illnesses but it is an exercise in knowing whether leadership truly exists in the environment you are fostering. I am proposing that there are multiple levels of the Leadership Social Action, the first of which is:
Level 1 - Who are you Leading?
Knowing who you are truly leading goes beyond an organizational chart. It goes well beyond gut feelings or performance appraisals, it is a true & honest indicator of knowing who it is that you lead.
Have you ever looked around a table of people that you formally lead or put in a position to do so? Have you ever had the feeling that there may not be a wide acceptance around the room of your opinion? Have you lost even one individual?
If you were to truthfully write out a list of who you current lead, do you believe they would in a similar fashion identify who they follow to match up with your list?
The Paradox: Would you? Are you led? Do you follow? Will your response match those of your formal leader?
This is a continuing discussion in The Leadership Social Action, that will present all the levels, following with techniques and tips on how each level can be identified, explored and worked on to progress through in as successful a path as you see fit.