Habits of Digitally Resonant Leaders

| By Terry Brake

In the world of social and collaborative networks, having leadership ‘presence and charisma’ takes on a new meaning.  Specifically in the last three years the adoption and utilisation (there is a difference!) of new collaborative technologies has opened up the opportunity for people to become leaders of whole networks or ‘wirearchies’ as Jon Husband) calls them.

But of the countless millions who are committing their continuous partial attention to online networks, what is it that makes a ‘wirearchy’ leader?

Online contributors on whom the zeitgeist of the digital age rests, who both articulate and personify the kind of ‘thought leadership’ that attracts significant attention. Jon Husband, is a good example of a social architect who envisions, designs, creates and helps people to function in the digital space.

People respond on the net to what resonates with them. Either to agree or disagree. Contributors who attract a critical mass of interest, create a following. They are the ‘digitally resonant’ opinion leaders who are influencing the spirit of our age.

At an operational level in our organisations they role model collaborative communication behaviour and have an ‘on line leadership style’ that begs engagement and gets people thinking and acting progressively. In your organization they may be people with highly visible job titles and extensive experience, equally they may be individuals with no direct or indirect authority, but excellent insight.  

They are quite simply, on the pulse of the borderless workplace.

What are some of the habits, mindsets and behaviours of digitally resonant leaders?

  • Well Cultivated Networks – They have cultivated a discretionary and selective network of connections, both inside and outside their organisations. They have worked out long ago (powerful networks develop over time) that merely accumulating vast numbers of contacts doesn’t make a particularly useful network and instead they focused their energies on influencing and facilitating relational energy.
  • Sense Makers – Instead of running from the complex and contradictory workplace we inhabit they have looked it straight in the face. And they don’t just offer insight in their respective professional field, but, being connected to expert ‘communities of practice’, they feed back to these and enrich the collective knowledge bank. In doing so they inevitably build a reputation for themselves that goes beyond their own industry.
  • Attention Getters (not seekers) – They have an organisational profile that attracts attention. Whilst not naturally wishing to seek attention, in reality they get and retain attention through the quality of their insight. Sites, blogs, or social networks personally associated with them may have acquired a following and their identity become an informal ‘personal brand’ inside the organisation. The reputational value of their brand is reinforced by the ‘dwell time’ of others whose ‘likes’, ‘dislikes’ ‘comments’ and ‘shares’ all accumulate to build the brand equity.
  • Connectors and Digital Facilitators – They have a reputation sustained not just by how much they offer personal comment; but also by how much they assist, direct, recommend and connect others to relevant sites, blogs, articles, comments and individuals to help others get things done. The more they usefully facilitate, the more their visible worth grows; and they themselves become at the same time a progenitor for other digital leaders.

The digitally resonant leader also knows the difference between adoption and utilisation! Too many companies adopt a technology like Adobe or Yammer and then fail to use its full functionality or potential to their advantage.  A digitally resonant leader also has a ‘digital fluency’ and models how to get the very best out of the collaborative technologies, social media at our disposal.

Author: Terry Brake

Terry has designed, developed, and delivered 100s of training programs for Fortune 1000 companies in many areas: global teamwork, global leadership, global cultural diversity, and general management skills. Many of these programs were delivered in traditional classrooms, but increasingly they are in virtual classrooms. To find out more click here.

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