There is a big noise about how companies are trying to get people more engaged in their internal social communication. The answer is simple: by forcing them. Companies are measuring employees’ on-line collaboration activities, but unfortunately they can only measure the quantitative factor of their social interaction neglecting totally the qualitative factor. We are sacrificing quality for quantity to structure the unstructurable. By Program Director of MS in IT Management and Business Analytics Achilles Georgiu
The way companies are using internal social communication and connections today is so much fictitious... And yet no one talks about it. Are employees afraid to raise their concerns? Is it generally true that most of them really like everything their colleagues or management post? Where is the critical thinking? Is the way in how we approach ‘being social’ actually valuable?
Can social communication be structured and driven by rules?
It is very honorable that the management of small and large organizations is trying to use social channels for communication and lead by example. But it is so obvious that most of them have been told to start using it and this doesn't really come by intuition as it would in our private life… Most of us hate receiving emails like "read my blog I wrote something exciting" – but about WHAT? Where is a teaser about the content at least? Let the reader decide if something is interesting and worth reading it. These kinds of emails are forcing the reader to go to the blog and then companies might believe (based on the statistics) that everybody has started using social collaboration and reading blogs, articles, comments.... which is fundamentally wrong.
One question then, is how to measure the qualitative part of the social activities? I know that this is a very difficult thing to be done as quality is a subjective factor. Some say that measuring the ratio between likes and comments could be a good start, but I debate this as most of the comments look like "this is a great initiative" or "I fully agree with you". It would be preferable to see comments which are debating or challenging the statements and initiate a discussion but unfortunately even if somebody writes something valuable it gets lost among the noise...
What kind of social leadership styles can we observe?
A few weeks ago we had the opportunity to discuss this topic with 30 executive MBA students. Most of them confirmed that they are facing similar challenges in their organizations. We spent few hours discussing the topic and we could define 3 types of Social Leadership styles:
- Socially passive leader. Many leaders today are still not using social communication at all. This doesn't mean by default that these leaders are not good leaders. It is better to not pretend something if the person is not comfortable with it.
- Socially active. These are the leaders who are pushing out the message and communicate regularly even if they do not have something to share. This can even be worse than the socially passive leader because in most cases the communication is one directional.
- Socially interactive. Are the leaders who spends more time on listening to social channels and reacts when needed by collaborating on an equal level with their followers.