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Social media can be a leadership tool

Digital technologies now are at the foundation of how people communicate, says ACUC speaker Charlene Li.

Become an engaged digital leader, says Charlene Li, founder/CEO of Altimeter Group and author of the bestselling books "Open Leadership" and "Groundswell."

It's crucial to do so, she says, because digital and social technologies now form part of the foundation of how people communicate and, ultimately, form relationships.

"Leadership is about relationships," says Li, who will give a keynote address at America's Credit Union Conference (ACUC), which runs June 26-29 in Seattle. "Digital and social tools allow us to connect with people even if we never talk to them or see them, and maybe have never even met them. In spite of this, these relationships can be incredibly deep and meaningful. We've learned to use these tools to develop empathy and trust."

Leaders who fail to use or leverage digital and social tools might lose their credibility, Li warns. Too often, leaders pay lip service to the need to embrace the digital and social realm—"We must go through a digital transformation"—but they won't do so personally.

"They'll often say to me, ‘That's not my job. That's marketing's job or my digital team's job,'" she explains. "How can you have someone else go through a digital transformation when you won't go through it? Your credibility suffers."

Some leaders' reluctance to embrace digital tools is based on fear and unfamiliarity. They don't know how to tweet or what topics to blog about, or they don't think others care what they have to say.

Put those thoughts aside, Li advises, and start by listening. "If nothing else, you look smart when you say ‘I was looking at Twitter and I saw this conversation,' or ‘I was reading through some LinkedIn columns and I'm really concerned about this.' So even if you're not prepared to share and engage, you can begin to engage with these tools by just listening."

(Via news.cuna.org)