Leadership comes in many forms. It’s been said that to be a manager all you need are people paid to do what you say, but to be a leader, you need people to do what you say because they want to, regardless of whether they are being paid to.
It’s certainly true that managers can make good leaders and leaders can make excellent managers, but the key distinction here is that no one wakes up in the morning thinking “I can’t wait to be managed today,” no one goes to work looking forward to being part of a management process. Still, the idea of being part of a team that achieves something great today under a strong leader is much more appealing.
What is Social Leadership?
Social Leadership is just another form of inspirational leadership. Instead of “this is what you will be doing today,” you’ll be hearing many more phrases such as “good morning team, here is what we’ll be doing, does anyone have any input?”
Social leaders always replace “I” with “we,” they give away the credit to hard work and success to their employees, but they also take personal responsibility when problems arise. Social leaders see their role as management help rather than being authoritative over the team.
Being a team player is at the heart of social leadership; they work with their team to build a culture of trust and respect within the team and organisation. Just as a sports coach doesn’t pick a captain on how many goals they score or points they win, team leaders should be picked on their ability to inspire people to greatness, not their personal ability to win contracts, make sales or achieve whatever arbitrary number the company has set as a goal for that quarter.
5 Soft Skills of a Social Leader
Soft skills are usually described as people’s attributes or personality traits. They are very difficult to “train” into someone who has no intention of learning. Therefore great social leaders usually score higher in the conscientiousness and openness areas of the big five personality traits.
In a great social leader, you will usually find a good mix of some of the following soft skills:
Empathy – Understanding and caring, asking “hey, your work hasn’t been as good lately, is everything OK?” rather than threats of job loss.
Self-awareness – Knowing how you come across to others and ensuring that you keep your cool in difficult situations.
Intuition – Using instinct to know when to push harder, when to dig deeper, and when to give their employees the space they need.
Courage – It takes incredible courage to pursue the right thing rather than the easy thing. It takes even more courage to take personal responsibility for a team’s failure rather than blame the weakest link.
Resilience – Great social leaders are strong. They understand that there will be knock backs along the way, but they keep getting back up, and they are not afraid to make tough choices.