Leardership vs managing.

Note: As you have seen in past posts here, at The Daily and the not so, I’ve always been a strong believer of the importance of acting as leaders and developing our main strengths and abilities. That said, this post, I write not only thinking of this but also inspired by Seth Godin’s concept of Tribes (If you can get your hands on the book, don’t miss the chance to read it).

Are you really leading talent or just managing resources?
I ask because once someone told me: “A manager manages projects, challenges, problems, resources. That’s why they are managers, because they manage…” Well, yeah…and a Director, directs and an executive executes…So, what is the difference between and simple manager, director or executive and a leader? Simple and huge!

If you manage resources, you impose your vision, or that of the status quo you represent, of what has to be done and how it must be done, absolutely diminishing the work of your staff. You will not give in even a centimeter of additional room to move for your employees to push and pull the leverages you have ordered them to pull to accomplish the list of tasks you determined will help your company to prosper.
Nevertheless, the problem herein lies in that the status quo is in itself that, something that must not change, that must remain the same, therefore not growing, not evolving, getting stuck, and no matter how hard you try, sooner or later if falls.
This is the model that is costing so much to so many companies, even to those who claim to be innovators. Not only on increasing costs and decreasing revenue; but in talent retention as well. And all because they are not sharing a vision based on values, principles and objectives others can identify themselves with and commit to; therefore thinking that the only way left to get other people to follow them is the old decaying stick and carrot way. And sooner rather than later they end up seeing even the most apathetic of their employees get tired of this model and leave.

On the other hand, if you stop wanting to manage people as if they were just another asset of your company and you focus on defining a worthy mission, on clearly sharing your organization’s vision and actually transforming yourself into an enabler of your team’s talents; not only will you become a leader who maximizes your people’s strengths and abilities, but you will transform your enterprise into a leader’s magnet, into a tribe of very talented and capable people, each exercising and maximizing their own strengths, collaborating and contributing to your organization.

Companies that understand that their real worth lies in its people, in its tribe; that is, in the hands of their collaborators (their employees) and their contributors (clients and vendors), are the ones who are getting ahead.
The leaders of these organizations know that success does not lie in one unique and secret formula nor in one methodology and work process, neither on “Incentivizing” employees and clients, but in creating a tribe of people whose values, principles and interests are so aligned that they will not hesitate to share their strengths, knowledge, commitment, experience and even their own tribes too, in order to achieve their shared objective.


Quantity vs Quality

This will probably not be a very popular post among the avid users of Twitter, FaceBook, FriendConnect and other social networks, but I have to ask: What is best the quantity of followers/friends you have or the quality of these?

I ask because lately it seems that participating in Social Media has become some sort of popularity contest, instead of a platform for socialization and collaboration.

I frequently see how a lot of people celebrate getting thousands of followers or vice versa following a thousand or more people. But come on, can you really read all their tweets and updates? You’d need to dedicate your entire day to it and I’m afraid you would not finish anyway! And please note this comes from a very avid Twitter and FaceBook user.

It’s nothing new when I say that for me, the great relevance of Social Media resides in the huge collaboration network that can be generated among users and the enormous impact it can have on your personal and professional life.

I’ve personally met more people in the last two years than I had in the previous five; and not only have I been able to collaborate with a lot of very cool people recording podcasts, chatting, delivering keynotes or even collaborating with The Age of conversation 2  a global book written by bloggers all around the world, but I’ve also been lucky enough to establish great friendships with people whom I’ve never seen or have seen very few times.

And this is precisely what makes me ask my initial question, because, How can I establish deeper relationships of collaboration if I have to try and pay attention to a thousand people at the same time?

To me, being part of the conversation means actively participating in it by adding value to it and certainly not about seeing how popular I am.

Of course I’d love to reach more people every day, but not in an empty way. I rather add something to their day, just like I’d love for the people I interact with to add value to my life as well. Therefore helping each other, adding value to one another and teaching each other something new; sharing past experiences or an inspiring phrase and an opinion about our content. Entertaining, telling a joke, cheering each other or simply having a good conversation.

And this is precisely the very basic principle behind social networks, is it not? Identifying groups of people who share similar interests and who want to meet more people and share what they know, thus establishing some type of tribe.

And there can be many types of tribes: it can be a tribe of friends like FaceBook where the basic purpose is to connect and reconnect with friends to keep each other up to date; or it can be a professional tribe like the groups in Linkedin or a more specialized tribe depending on hobbies, sports and other interests.

Still,  I am convinced that it does not matter what type of tribe or social network we want to belong to, our success will lie in the few or many interactions we have there and in the value we add to that community.

It’s like Seth Godin says in his last book, precisely called TRIBES: “Showing up isn’t sufficient. Friending ten, twenty or a thousand people in FaceBook might be good for your ego but it has zero to do with any useful measure of success”.

It might be that a commercial brand or a celebrity participating in Social Media is looking to follow thousands of people to increase their reach, but that is just a simpleton and limited vision on how to impose the dying principles of traditional media to the digital space.

It can also be that some professionals are looking to get a lot of followers to, in time, identify those who are more valuable to them. Like a good Twitter friend (who I have just seen one time and for two minutes only) told me when I tweeted this question: “You have to kiss a lot of frogs to find your prince. Quantity takes you to quality”. And there might be some truth in his answer, no doubt.

But I rather think that the quality of our network and the quality of our contribution to it, will eventually take us to quantity.

And who knows what quantity is enough to consider yourself successful when using Social Media.

To me, if I am able to help and touch the life of even just one person a day, even if it is just by making them smile through two points and a parenthesis :), I’m as successful as I want.

Note on picture credit: I can't remember where I first got this picture a few months ago, I tried traking it's creator but had no luck, so if you happen to know who created it, please let me know so I can give him or her proper credit.


If you don’t have anything good to say…don’t.

These last few days we’ve witnessed the incredible and unstoppable, I dare say, power and reach of social media.

The volume generated with notes, mentions and comments about the present health crisis reached peaks never seen before in Twitter, FaceBook, Google trends and a lot of other communication platforms; erasing all doubts that Social Media is just a fad.

That said, we could also sadly see the lack of maturity and consciousness among many Social Media users.

It’s been really disappointing to see how many people have taken the situation so lightly . And I’m not referring to the common users who often update his or her status in FaceBook. I’m talking about all those persons who up until a few days ago presented themselves as thought leaders or experts in Social Media and who actively promoted (be it because the lacked the information or because they wanted to have a starring role in the conversation), the huge disinformation we’ve seen lately, therefore contributing to generating fear, stress and misunderstanding about the proper precautions required.

It’s really sad to see how, instead of leveraging the power of Social Media to contribute and help control such an evident problem, these pseudo experts and pseudo opinion leaders have just done one of three things: making fun of the situation by telling bad and repeated (too many times) jokes, distributing alarming notes or telling stories about a conspiracy from a shadow government that is trying to unbalance the world; or even worse they’ve done the three!

Fortunately though, a phenomenon that, even though some people would love to ignore, does happen, is that the same rules from our off-line lives operate in our lives on-line. I mean, just like we have to be authentic and congruent in our day to day life, we also need to act like this on-line. Just like people may or may not like us in our real life, this can happen too on-line. And just like we can decide to stop watching a TV show or cancel our subscription to a newspaper, we can decide to unfollow or disconnect from those people who simply are not adding value to the conversation.

Of course, with this post, I do not intend to mark the content generated by some. I also certainly don’t intend to limit the humor (good or bad) of some people and much less do I intend to criticize or expose anyone. After all we all will decide who to follow and what content to consume.

However what I definitely want to say is that people today need other people who will add value to their lives, people who will bring something to the table and who is willing to help.

Just a few weeks ago I wrote a post about what Social Media means to me and in it, I summarized it all in just one word: COLLABORATION.

Collaboration for me means to add value, to support others with ideas and actions, to put in our two cents.

Of course it is ok to take things with humor, and it’s definitely very human (in my original text in Spanish, I said very Mexican) to make fun of pain. It’s ok to use different forums to take our stressful load off our backs and of course we all have a right to express our point of view.

But think about this: one time is very funny, two not so much, three definitely not.

So each of us is free to take things as we see fit? Yes, of course we are.So each of us is free to say what we want? Yes, of course we are.

But what good is it to talk just for the sake of talking and not add any value?

Because the fact that some people technically know how to enter information in Social Media platforms does not mean at all that they really know how to use it.

Writing empty nonsense does not add any value, it just generates noise.

And what do people do when they just hear noise? They turn the source off.

Picture credit: DJLegion

An important note.

The comments, opinions and recommendations posted in this personal blog are my personal thoughts, and doesn't necesarily reflect those of my employer.