Social Leadership is Changing Business

Over the last 3 months I have been observing my new team- the structure, the dynamics and the resources to determine what skills we have and what can we build with them. This information allowed me to set a strategic direction.

I was able to lead a planning session with the team and together we developed the social media mission by setting own personal goals as well as the goals for the team. We took a long, hard and collective look at the team strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to determine the best way to move our team to the next level.

My hope is that we are able to promptly respond to our members needs or concerns via social media. We want to engage in actions that demonstrate respect and concern for our members. Our actions on social media must go beyond our self-interests and be on the look-ourt for the well-being of the larger community we serve.

I’ve learned that my new company has such a strong community of employees and members that are already involved in a real-life dialogue and interations in our branches or over the phone everyday. It only makes sense for us to help the re-imagine what these conversations look like and feel like on social media.

I have set the direction. We want to be the most socially engaged financial institution in the world. But it’s going to take more than a few of us in marketing; it’s going to take the weight of the whole company.

I believe we have the culture to foster this type of employee brand advocacy. I believe we are strong in our community and therefore we will grow the most in our areas of greatest strength; both individually and collectively as a company.

Social Leadership

What is the difference between social media and leadership? Nothing. Authentic leaders have a steady and confident presence. They do not show up as one person one day and another person the next.

For social media to work, it must be fully transparent- the good, the bad and the ugly. It must real, and the same can be said of leadership.

This is nothing ground-breaking, it’s been said before.

The real value of social media goes way beyond marketing and communications: it is teaching us a new way to lead and manage our organizations. –  Jamie Notter

I have been in my new role for a little over 3 months. My first 90 days have really been about outlining a plan to help move social media into a highy engaged marketing discipline. We are going to continue evaluating the policies, the team structure, the training, the content- but nonetheless, we know where we are headed.

Social Media= Authentic Leadership = Engaged and Trusting  Employees. -” Tweet This

If you’ve heard me speak, I like to talk a lot about ’employee social advocacy’ and I truly believe this is the future – but all I’m really talking about is employees being themselves/ ourselves on social media- you can call it ‘authentic social leadership’- call it transparency, authenticity- whatever, you want to call it, we need to be Social with a capital S, and the Social Media team needs to BE social by modeling the behavior we hope to see from the rest of the organization.

We all need to be leaders by teaching those around us how to use social media. This will require each of us staying patient with the pace of change and always remembering to take the opportunity to educate our peers.

As an industry leader in social media, we must all be our authentic-selves in order to guide our organizations towards social business. I believe that social media equals authentic leadership which equals engaged and trusting employees which is how you become a social business.



Mike Toner

Based in Alexandria, Virginia Michael is the Manager of Social Media at Navy Federal Credit Union. By evening, he's a husband, dog owner and runner. Toner writes about social media strategy, tools, training and best practices for social and digital marketing programs.


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