Social Media Leadership: Hit Hard When It Hurts

Filed in Leaders & People by on September 8, 2010 0 Comments

“Pain is temporary. Quitting lasts forever.” – Lance Armstrong

When things are going great, it seems as if you’re on top of the world. Nothing can hold you back and you can’t seem to do anything wrong. Your confidence is high and your ability to focus is hawk-like. You are leading your people in an extraordinary way, giving them what they want and need to be successful. You are crushing your goals and nothing is out of order. You’re truly the king or queen of the world.

Then something goes wrong and it all falls apart. You fall apart. Your team breaks down and the progress you’ve just made no longer exists.

What do you do?

Tough Times Make You Who You Are

When your world has seemingly come to an end, you need to step up to the plate and become a great leader. Leading when things are great doesn’t really show your character. Sure, it allows for you to exhibit qualities that show you’re a team player but none that make you a concrete leader. When things take a turn for the worse, everyone turns to you for advice, guidance, and navigation. Hard times require you to be decisive, encouraging, and humble–three great qualities of an expert leader.

In Robin Sharma’s The Leader Who Had No Title, he talks about this concept, stating, “It’s the most uncomfortable of conditions that can be the crucible that forges the best leaders.” Without a doubt, it’s time for you to stop playing the victim during change and be the catalyst to make great things happen.

How Does This Apply to Social Media?

We’ve all been there: someone decides to take a shot at your or your business, they get attention, and you’re expected to respond. You’re expected to engage in a war of words with this person or business because they just talked negatively about your business. Human desire tells us to keep up the fighting because we can’t lose our dignity.


Instead, be an authentic leader and speak respectfully about your competition. Make promises to your customers that you will give them the best service possibly. Kill the competition with kindness and with a respect that leaves them wondering what is happening.

How you react during heated moments, the times when things fall apart for you, is what will make and shape your business and clientele.

As a rule, don’t…

  • Blast your competition on Facebook or Twitter. No one wants to hear (or read) a war of words via the Internet. Plus, it only shows that you stoop just as low as the other players in your niche.
  • React to claims about your company. Instead, respond with authenticity and honesty. If you messed up and someone found out, own it. It will show you are in it for the long run instead of trying to scam others.
  • Complain on Twitter or Facebook. If your competition releases a new product, don’t complain that they stole your idea. It will only get you in trouble.
  • Deny change. Embrace it. Every business changes and when things begin to take a different shape, it’s the people who respond well that get considered for promotions and big customer contracts later.

Action Steps

Here are a few action steps in order to begin leading in difficult times:

  • Think about what recent changes your business has gone through. How can you overcome adversity and lead through change?
  • Begin to show “props” and kudos to your fans on Facebook and Twitter. This will show that you’re authentic and appreciate them. When the going gets tough, they’ll run to you and support you.
  • Start responding to crisis situations versus reacting to them. Keep your calm and your cool in order to be the better person in the long run.
  • Share this article with your network via your favorite social media website.

Eric Alpin is the Associate Editor of Folk Media and works for a telecommunications company in Baltimore, Md. He is a social media enthusiast, blogger, writer, and student with a passion for leadership and self-development strategies and techniques. Find out more about Eric on Twitter.

*Photo by bjearwicke

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