6 social media skills every leader needs

The social media revolution—which is less than a decade old—has created a dilemma for senior executives. While its potential seems immense, the inherent risks create uncertainty and unease.

January 15, 2014 |
Steven Burns

The social media revolution—which is less than a decade old—has created a dilemma for senior executives. While its potential seems immense, the inherent risks create uncertainty and unease.

An article in the February 2013 issue of McKinsey Quarterly draws on the perspectives of executives at General Electric to outline six social media skills and organizational capabilities leaders must build to achieve competitive advantage:

1. Leader as producer: Creating compelling content. As video communication rises in importance, effective leadership will increasingly require an authentic voice, imagination, and the ability to craft compelling stories. To engage in real time on a personal level, executives will also need the technical skills to master the basics of digital-multimedia production, including how to shoot and, if necessary, edit videos.

2. Leader as distributor: Leveraging dissemination dynamics. Social communication invites company audiences to co-create and contextualize content to create new meaning. Messages are rebroadcast and repurposed at will by recipients who repost videos, retweet and comment on blogs, and use fragments of other people’s content to create their own mash-ups. 

Since executives aren’t able to govern or control a message once it enters the system, they must understand what might cause it to go viral and how it may be changed and annotated while spreading through the network.

3. Leader as recipient: Managing communication overflow. Leaders must become proficient at using the software tools and settings that help users filter the important stuff from the unimportant. They must decide when (and when not) to reply and what to share with their various communities. 

4. Leader as adviser and orchestrator: Driving strategic social-media utilization. Leaders must play a proactive role in raising the media literacy of their immediate reports and stakeholders. They must become tutors and strategic orchestrators of all social-media activities within their control.

5. Leader as architect: Creating an enabling organizational infrastructure. Leaders must strive to establish an organizational and technical infrastructure that encourages free exchange but also enforce controls that mitigate the risks of irresponsible use. 

6. Leader as analyst: Staying ahead of the curve. It’s imperative to keep abreast of emerging trends and innovations — not just their competitive and marketplace implications, but also what they mean for communications technologies, which are fundamental for creating an agile, responsive organization.

Read more from McKinsey Quarterly. 

Editor's Note: This is sponsored content. All text and images were provided by the sponsor company. 

Steven Burns | The Business Behind Design

Steven Burns, FAIA, spent 14 years managing the firm Burns + Beyerl Architects, during that time the firm’s earnings grew at an average rate of 24% per year. After creating ArchiOffice®, the intelligent office, project management and time tracking solution for architectural firms, Steve took his management expertise to BQE Software, where he is refining their business strategy and product development.

Related Blogs

According to research by talent management firm Development Dimensions International, 89% of leaders with strong interaction skills have more engaged teams. Photo: Sebastiaan ter Burg/Flickr

July 10, 2015 | Building Team | The Business Behind Design

Much of what’s written about employee engagement focuses on how leaders can help their employees become mor...

How to earn respect as a leader
June 18, 2015 | The Business Behind Design

Employees will give you minimum effort if the only reason they respect you is for your authority

Is your firm social enough?
June 09, 2015 | Building Team | The Business Behind Design

The overwhelming majority of A/E/C firms are engaged in social media. But to what end? 

Succession planning starts with developing your leaders

A leadership-succession process should involving mentoring and coaching. Photo: HA0521-021/Flickr.

June 03, 2015 | Building Team | The Business Behind Design

Two-thirds of U.S. companies still admit that they have no formal succession plan in place, a 2014 survey c...

Why it’s so hard to figure out what to pay top talent
April 03, 2015 | Building Team | The Business Behind Design

Is your firm’s approach to compensation effective in today’s rapidly changing talent market?

Are face-to-face meetings still important?

It’s particularly important for sensitive communication, when having tone and body language for context makes a difference.

March 17, 2015 | The Business Behind Design

One CEO looks pass convenience and advocates for old school, in-person meetings.

How to give feedback effectively

If initial feedback doesn’t resonate, effective leaders also know how to turn up the pressure in a way that is progressive, but not too sharp.

March 06, 2015 | Building Team | The Business Behind Design

A great feedback-giving leader evaluates the individual

What your employees really want

Employers can support employees' personal growth by encouraging them to take courses online or be mentored by more senior employees. Photo courtesy of Evan Bench/Wikimedia Commons.

February 24, 2015 | Building Team | The Business Behind Design

Here are key aspects of a job that keep employees happy

Why diversity at work matters

In the U.S., there is a linear relationship between racial and ethnic diversity and better financial performance, a study by McKinsey found. Photo: Monisha Pushparaj/Wikimedia Commons

February 17, 2015 | Building Team | The Business Behind Design

Companies in the top quartile for gender or racial and ethnic diversity are more likely to have financial r...

The 4 leadership behaviors that really matter McKinsey & Company

Using a comprehensive list of 20 distinct leadership traits, McKinsey surveyed 189,000 people in 81 diverse organizations around the world.

January 30, 2015 | Building Team | The Business Behind Design

It includes seeking diverse perspectives and supporting others.

 

Add new comment

Your Information
Your Comment

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Refresh Type the characters you see in this picture. Type the characters you see in the picture; if you can't read them, submit the form and a new image will be generated. Not case sensitive.  Switch to audio verification.
Overlay Init