Leaders Need to Use Social Media

Communication is a skill of great importance for leaders and as challenging as communication can be, the new cultural landscape of businesses is making it even more challenging. The new landscape of organizations has global scale and is integrating the use of social media. These two elements are creating a need for a virtual style of leadership to assist in connecting with followers to give direction and guidance, which creates challenges as well as opportunities (Cohen and Prusak, 2001). Leaders use communication to engage listeners, gain commitment, and create a bond of trust between them and followers (Baldoni, 2003, p. 6), but this can be challenging as work takes place across distances time and space (McCallum & O’Connell, 2009, p. 153). Electronic communication is now vital and social media is a worthy medium to be understood (McCallum and O’Connell, 2009, p. 153).

Gone are the days when a leader can simply command and control their followers when they are not present (Tredgold, 2014, p. 9). This is particularly true for leaders of members of the younger generation with a strong expectation leaders will be on social media (Tredgold, 2014, p. 9). Members of the younger generation look at social media as a way to socially connect with their leaders, break down organizational boundaries, and develop a relationship outside of the workplace.

Leaders who master social media are able to confirm their authenticity and gain trust among their followers (Tredgold, 2014, p. 9). Using social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and others provide a two-way structure for leaders and followers to share things they may not through formal channels. This helps leaders build trust among followers, and provides insight for the leader of followers (Tredgold, 2014, p. 9).

What social media site is most effective for leaders to utilize?


Baldoni, J. (2003). Great Communication Secrets of Great Leaders (1 edition). New York: McGraw-Hill Education.

Cohen, D., & Prusak, L. (2001). In Good Company: How Social Capital Makes Organizations Work (1 edition). Boston: Harvard Business Review Press.

McCallum, S., & O’Connell, D. (2009). Social capital and leadership development. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 30(2), 152–166. http://doi.org/10.1108/01437730910935756

Tredgold, G. P. (2014). Are you connected? Leadership in the era of social media. Development and Learning in Organizations: An International Journal, 28(6), 9–11. http://doi.org/10.1108/DLO-05-2014-0032

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