A Subtle Way Some Leaders Undermine Their Own Credibility
I personally have mixed emotions about technology and social media. I enjoy the way that both have enhanced my communication (sending and receiving) and despise that I have to be married to some of it in order for it to make a difference. Someone said to me at lunch recently, “I bet you really are into technology and social media.” I’m actually impressed that he thought so because that means I am accomplishing something that I intend. Technology and social media are actually somewhat frustrating to me. However, both are emerging, growing, and becoming the reality of our culture. Any leader who chooses to ignore this fact does so at their own leadership peril. I find that leaders broadly fall into one of three categories on technology and social media.
First, those who ignore it or are “tech ignorant.” They have their excuses and justification but the reality is that their influence is waning because they are viewed more and more as irrelevant. It is sad that they are not willing to grow and learn. Second are those who are “tech savvy.” These leaders are early adopters and know the ins and outs of the newest devices, web sites, blogs, and gadgets. For some who are younger it actually comes naturally. They are advantaged in their leadership because they can take full advantage of emerging communication sources.
I fall into a third category which I consider the minimum for a leader in today’s culture. I explained to my friend at lunch that I am “tech aware.” I am not a first adopter, I don’t know how everything works, I don’t tap into every technological option, but I do know the language, I utilize the more broadly used technical and social media sources, and I keep my ears open. I try to be coachable. Failure to be coachable is a failure to lead. I recognize that something new will emerge in the next year that I have never heard of and I will need to understand and utilize whatever it is to be viewed as relevant. Does that matter to me? It does because I believe I have a message to share and there is no point in sharing if no one will listen. I want to be coachable. How about you? The point of this post is not about technology. It is about willingness to grow and change. When you fail to do so, when you fail to be coachable, you inadvertently undermine your own credibility and effectiveness. Be coachable and you will maximize your leadership.
I will leave you with one of my recent tweets. The Lord occasionally blesses me with modern proverbs that help make my point. Here you go:
ALWAYS BE YOURSELF, BUT NEVER STOP IMPROVING ON IT.
Adapted from Chapter Thirty-Eight of John G. Miller’s Outstanding; 47 Ways to Make Your Organization Exceptional