Leadership Lessons Of Web 2.0 – Secret #2: Engagement

This is the second in a series of posts looking as how aspiring leaders can learn from Web 2.0 practices and theory.

On The Web: What is it that defines Web 2.0? To me, it’s interactivity.  If Web 1.0 was a one-way ‘speech’ to the crowd or a ‘push’ of information, Web 2.0 is a dialogue, a conversation, and a two-way exchange.  Whether it’s the ability to upload photos to Flickr or videos to YouTube, or to add and edit information to entries on Wikipedia, or even to just comment on a blog, Web 2.0 is ALL about the engagement of the community.
And what happens to a community that is truly engaged?  They create astonishing value.  They come back to your site more and more regularly.  They participate and contribute more and more regularly.  They tell others about the great experience they’re having with you.  They CARE about you and your site!

As A Leader: Much like a web community, a successful team in an organization is an engaged team.  And – shocker! – the methods to increase engagement on your team are the same as they are on the web.

  • Make meetings two-way conversations.
  • Don’t make decisions in a silo – solicit input from the team.
  • One of the best pieces of advice on starting conversations on a blog is to ask questions of your audience – this is also the best way to begin to engage your team.
  • Seek information, don’t tell them the solution.

A leader cannot give a team a one-way step-by-step instruction manual and expect buy-in and passion.  However, if a leader creates an environment where new ideas are welcomed, new ideas are implemented, and successes are championed, teams feel valued and more confident in using their knowledge and expertise. Give them autonomy and empowerment, and the sky is the limit to the value they will create.
The reason you need to focus on engagement is this:
If you have a team that mindlessly repeats tasks exactly the way you prescribe them and clocks in at 9 and clocks out at 5, you’re a manager.

If you have a passionate team that shows up early and stays late (of their own accord), who are constantly suggesting ideas for how to do things better or creating brand new ideas for products and services, and who feel a sense of ownership in their roles, you’re a leader.

So spend your time thinking about how to make your team feel valued and they will solve the problem of making you and your organization successful.

It’s not about you.  It’s about your team.

What are some other areas of Web 2.0 that leaders (and teams) can learn from?  Please share your thoughts in the comments…

Related Posts:

Web 2.0 Leadership Secret #1: Give Up Control

Web 2.0 Leadership Secret #3: Be A Valuable Community Member

Web 2.0 Leadership Secret #4: Permission To Fail

Posted Thursday, November 6th, 2008 under Web 2.0 Leadership Lessons.