For many years I have drawn great inspiration and lessons from leaders of all sorts - political, corporate, social and the like.
A political and social leader who has had among the greatest impact on me is former U.S. Army General and U.S. Secretary of State, Colin Powell. In his autobiography 'My American Journey' Mr. Powell shares many stories, insights and lessons learned throughout his storied career.
Perhaps the most important offering in the book are the '13 Rules of Leadership' that he shares.
I refer to these rules often and each time I look at them I learn something new.
I would like to share them with you - along with commentary as to how I apply each as a communication professional leading in an environment of constant social and business change.
Interestingly, I found a great article authored by David Zinn published in 2000 - where he applied the same rules to coaching in sports. A few of his insights are woven Into the below as well.
RULE #1: It ain't as bad as you think. It will look better in the morning.
The practice and art of managing communication and influence has changed significantly over the last three years driven in large part by the impressive utilization and growth of social media - further enabled by innovations in the development of mobile technologies and social applications.
The ability for anyone to publish and communicate instantaneously with reach beyond boarders (only limited timezone) has fundamentally changed how communication professionals manage influence and shape opinion.
Communication professionals are often under pressure (sometimes false) to react or respond to issues in the social web in a matter of seconds or a few minutes - rather than several minutes to a few hours. The pressure to react or respond so quickly to a negative 'tweet' or blog post before it becomes viral can be great. It can also often make an issue or situation worse if done in hast.
Because of the viral nature of social media - when you react or act you must do so with a sense of purpose, clarity and honesty. Sometimes this means taking time to gather facts, background and even assess if a response is warranted - or - if the 'social system' will self correct issues of concern.
It is always best to allow time to assess and condition a situation before reacting...because it might not look that bad after thinking it through.
RULE #2: Get mad, then get over it.
Social media is a tremendous environment for people to channel their emotion and how they feel about a particular issue or situation. When people communicate via social media it is often because they want to be listened to - they want to be heard.