This week I heard two very different takes on the role of Twitter in the context of leadership:
An NHS graduate trainee happened to mention that the Leadership Academy encouraged her and her cohort to get on Twitter. The scheme has its own Twitter account @NHSGradScheme and a hashtag for the cohort #NHSgrad2013.
A senior manager happened to mention in a leadership workshop that Twitter and blogging wasn’t for them.
I was struck by this contrast. At one end of the spectrum an expectation set that future NHS leaders engage with social networking. At the other end of the spectrum an implied view that social networking is optional and can be given a miss.
So if we are expecting our future leaders to participate then should we also be expecting our established leaders to do the same? And what are the risks for those who decide to opt out – what do they lose and what might they gain?
I guess there was a time when it was optional to have an email account in an office job – and then the moment arrived when it became a ubiquitous communication tool – a tipping point occurred when it became the norm for day-to-day communication. Of course now email is becoming rather passé and no doubt Twitter will too in due course.
So perhaps the more important question is – do leaders have a responsibility to continually develop themselves, keep abreast of new ways in which their staff and clients/customer communicate, understand the opportunities and manage the risks? I would argue that they do. I wonder if the time will arrive soon when it isn’t ok to choose to opt out of social networking. What do you think?