Leader 2.0: How Social Media Impacts Leadership

Leader 2.0: How Social Media Impacts Leadership

Facebook. Twitter. Foursquare. Vimeo. YouTube. LinkedIn. Blogs. Podcasts. In case you haven’t noticed, there’s been a social media revolution and I wanted to talk about its impact on leadership. I watched a short video on the Harvard Business Review’s website called “The Role of Tomorrow’s Leaders” that I’d encourage you to check out when you’ve got a few extra minutes. It’s a conglomeration of current leaders talking about the challenges that leaders will face in the future and many of them talked about how social media will change the manner in which leaders lead. In this second in a three part series on leadership, I’ll talk about the ways that social media impacts leadership. As coaches, we tell our student-athletes to be mindful of who they friend on Facebook and not to put anything up that they don’t want their mothers to see…but is that social media’s only impact on what we do?

3 Ways Social Media Affects Coaching That You Probably Hadn’t Thought About

1. Teams won’t follow blindly: My high school coach was old school. You know the type: I tell you what to do and you don’t ask any questions. Well, those days are long gone, my friend! I’m sure that I’m not telling you anything that you don’t already know. Our athletes have access to much more information than ever before and that’s great. But now they can go home from practice and search for drills to help whatever problem it is they think they have and then come back to practice the next day and tell you what you need to do in order to solve their problem. That wouldn’t fly for old school coach, but Leader 2.0 understands that there’s an overload of information out there on the internet and that it’s our job to help frame that information. We want them to be interested enough that they’re searching for information, but to respect their coach’s knowledge and vision for the team. Leader 2.0’s easy fix: be knowledgeable.

2. The ugly side of social media: These days, an unhappy parent or player can negatively impact a coach in very real ways. We don’t like to talk about it, but where there’s a team, there’s someone who’s not happy with their role on it! It used to be that we just worried about team “cancers” grumbling underneath their breath, now we’ve got to worry about them setting up a “I Hate Coach Dawn…Don’t You?” Facebook page and soliciting “likes” for it. I know that there are coaches out there who say that social media’s not for them, but for the young folks…I don’t think that’s a very empowering stance to take. Leader 2.0’s easy fix: at the lowest level, check out what’s being said about you by doing an internet search; higher level leaders would be proactive and put their own information out there.

3. Distributed leadership: As I said before, the days of the old school “my way or the highway” coaching style has passed, being replaced with a distributed style of leadership. It’s something that sports teams have done forever, but now it’s more pronounced. Distributed leadership looks like a head leader (or head coach, of course) with different sets of leaders place amongst the team. Most of us have captains who serve as our team leaders, but we can also have other folks with less defined leadership roles…but they are leaders nonetheless. As the head coach, be sure to meet with your team’s leaders so that they can be advocates for you and your system, but also to help you gauge your team’s atmosphere. Leader 2.0’s easy fix: train your leaders on what leadership looks like to you…that’ll keep your frustration level low.

As coaches and leaders, let’s actively embrace social media and its impact on our teams, our recruits, and our lives.

Dawn Redd is the Head Volleyball Coach at Beloit College. Come visit Coach Dawn’s community of coaching nerds and team leaders over at her blog, http://www.coachdawnwrites.com, where she teaches how to become an excellent coach, motivate individuals, and build successful teams.