This week I had the privilege of attending a workshop on blogging by Jo Heywood. As the Head of Heathfield School, Heywood blogs about a variety of topics that are relevant to her work as a school leader. During the session, there were a range of questions on the benefits of blogging as well as what it means to be a senior leader of an organization who is active on social media. The need for a conversation on leadership and digital expectations was evident.
When someone leaves: People are always asking about what to do when a leader who is active on social media leaves their organization. The question seems to stem from the idea that digital engagement is still perceived as being a "passion project" instead of a core aspect of what it means to be a leader. When someone leaves a leadership role within an organization, the next person has to be ready to pick up the "baton of engagement" and continue using digital channels.
Reasons for being there: Heywood began her blog in 2013. Reading through her posts, Heywood sets out solid stances on a variety of education-related issues. Heywood's blog is an engagement platform for her school. The brand of the school is built up via the blog as it becomes a touchstone for media coverage. Additionally, Heywood's thought leadership is accessible to a wide audience. There are multiple reasons for senior leaders to utilize social media for engagement: organization/individual brand building, access, collaboration, thought leadership, and media generation.
Bravery is contagious: There's a line in a sci-fi movie (don't worry, I've read the book, too) that "fear is the mind-killer." Risk aversion isn't a bad trait for a leader. However, being aware of the difference between perceived risk and actual risk is an important leadership trait. The entire organization will benefit when a leader "gets digital." Getting going with a blog, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, etc. isn't that complicated. It's important that leaders understand that the value of social media for engagement tends to be far greater than any negative aspects (real or perceived).
Fortunately, there are always good examples of education leaders who are early adopters of digital channels. Heywood serves as a terrific role model for not only her school community, but for any other leaders who wish to follow her example.
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