How Do You Approach the Change to Leading On-Line?

At 7:00 am I posted a video for my sales team to watch. At 7:15 I asked the question, “What are your current goals for today? How many? By When?” This type of communication used to require me to drive to the office, hold a meeting, ask in person or wait for a response via email. At minimum It would require everyone to dial into a conference call. Because of the nature of email, I may or may not have received a response. Now with a quick “post” my sales team is motivated and committed to their goal for the day. These this type of cultural leadership changes have freed up the most valuable resource I have as a leader, time.

In 2015 there was a white paper entitled Motivational Drives of Content Contribution to Company- Versus Consumer- Hosted Online Communities, and the authors wrote, “The results reveal that opinion leadership, self-presentation, and enjoyment positively affect content contribution; altruism negatively affects content contribution. In company-hosted online communities, the positive drivers are stronger than in consumer-hosted online communities.” (Teichmann, Stokburger-Sauer, Plank, & Strobl, 2015). As riveting as that quote is, the research is telling. People engage with their companies best through on-line communities lead and supported by the organization leadership.

There are three ways that you can engage your team on-line
1.     Set the expectation that they are to communicate with the team via the “company approved” social media platforms 
2.     Ask them to provide a response
3.     Provide insider team knowledge via social media

There is a culture that is established in each social media community. It is up to the leader to effectively set expectations to the use to team social media and ultimately police it. In a 2013 article in the Journal of Strategic Marketing, the authors suggest that marketing through social media requires that “Companies must be fully aware of the effect social media are having upon marketing, develop the required social media capabilities, identify strategies which use these capabilities to support overall marketing strategy and prioritize carefully how they want to use social media” (Stone & Woodcock, 2013). 

The same could be said about engaging your staff through social media. Engaging your team in the social conversation is a vital part to team engagement in the modern era. 

As a culture we have changed! Put down the laptop and pick up your smart phone. Learning to Lead within the current culture and current business environment may be the difference between engagement of your team and mediocre results!

Stone, M., & Woodcock, N. (2013). Social intelligence in customer engagement. Journal Of Strategic Marketing, 21(5), 394-401. doi:10.1080/0965254X.2013.801613

Teichmann, K., Stokburger-Sauer, N. E., Plank, A., & Strobl, A. (2015). Motivational Drivers of Content Contribution to Company- Versus Consumer-Hosted Online Communities. Psychology & Marketing, 32(3), 341-355. doi:10.1002/mar.20783


Nathan Bush, MBA, NALP is the leadership and influence expert for real estate professionals. He is the Senior Property Manager for Affinity Property Group and a licensed Missouri Realtor. Nathan’s book Leadership Coaching as a Strategy for Employee Development serves real estate professionals and property managers to break the “Cycle of Resistance” facing their organization. For more information and download his book for free.

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