When you’re the leader of a team, you’re in a position of responsibility and authority in the workplace and away from it.
As someone your team should look up to, it’s your job to lead and that means making tough decisions that your colleagues may not like. It can be hard and require courage, but that’s why you’re the leader. You set the standard.
Disagreeing with your colleagues may be something you do not want to do, especially if part of your leadership style is to be a friend and peer more than a ‘boss’.
You may be surprised, but all of this applies to social media, too.
BE KIND ONLINE
Just as you must use your judgment to make calls in the workplace, you have to judge what and when to post on social media, and when to intervene with colleagues and employees. Remember, you represent your team and your entire organisation when you write something on Facebook, tweet on Twitter, Instagram yourself on a night out and goof off on TikTok. Always think about how you want to represent yourself and if you would feel comfortable if your colleagues and associates saw what you had written, photographed or said.
And it’s the same for your team. If you do see something someone you work alongside has posted that doesn’t sit right with you or doesn’t reflect well on them or your team, ask them to delete it or rephrase it (if it can be edited). Don’t worry about what their reaction is: although you may fear that you’ll lose their support, it’s unlikely you will. If they respect the decisions you make in the office, they should be wise enough to listen to what you’re saying elsewhere.
ACT AS A TEAM
Your fellow team leaders around you should back you up – after all, the reputation of your team and organisation, as well as individuals, is essential. It may feel awkward and not be what you want to do – you might not want to be the one killing the fun – but if it’s something that could be misconstrued, especially something that is hurtful to someone else, then it’s your responsibility as a leader to call it out and encourage your colleagues to be responsible too.
Social media magnifies everything and can distort meaning and perception, so what might be intended as a bit of light-hearted banter – something laughed about in person – can be blown out of all proportion online and seen as bullying or trolling.
It’s always a great idea to practice good sportsmanship online. It’s not just about making sure that you’re not saying the wrong things – you have to say the right things too. If you see a rival company has succeeded or achieved something, then congratulate them. Social media can be great at fostering community spirit as well as creating divisions, so use it to your advantage.
As a leader, you should be used to stepping in to sort out disputes, calm things down and help guide your colleagues – and nowhere more than social media is that needed these days. So step up, lead the way with the kind of content you post, and get your team in order when they go too far. Your colleagues, your superiors, your organisation and your peers will respect you for it.