This is the third in a series of posts looking as how aspiring leaders can learn from Web 2.0 practices and theory.
On The Web: Take the example of two different types of bloggers.
Jim has a great looking blog with very compelling content.
Sandra has a basic template blog with relatively average content.
BUT, Sandra has a healthy stream of visitors to her blog every day, while Jim is quickly fading into obscurity.
Why does the mediocre blog win the race? Because Sandra participates in online communities that are related to the subject matter of her blog. She comments on other blogs, participates in forum discussions, and generously helps other bloggers where she can. As a result, Sandra is seen as a valuable community member. Other community members have gotten to know her and, as such, visit her site regularly.
On the flip side, Jim knows he’s got a great blog, but can’t be bothered with stooping to comment on other, inferior blogs. He knows everything about his subject matter and adamantly believes that once people ‘find’ his blog, the crowds will come pouring in.
Unfortunately for Jim, they won’t.
As A Leader: You can’t just hire people and let them loose. And you can’t force people to listen to you just because you’re the boss. If Jim the blogger was a manager, his confidence and talent would lead him to automatically assume status as the ‘hub’ of the community. While he may think he’s the hub, though, his team won’t. That’s because, just like on the web, you have to earn loyalty.
And the way to earn it is to first become a valued and valuable member of your community.
- So be generous.
- Help out your team members when they need it.
- Get to know them.
- Support them when they’re having troubles and champion them when they succeed.
- Teach them.
- Coach them.
- Support them.
- Take an interest in their interests.
Once you become valued and relevant for your team, they will give you something far more valuable than the position of leader – they will give you the status and respect of a leader.
It’s not about you. It’s about your team.