6 Ways to Undermine Your Leadership On Social Media

social mediaSocial Media is a tool, almost like a double-edged sword. If used properly, it can help you reach more people effectively. If used wrongly, it can hurt relationships and your influence and reputation. If unused, well, then you need to find other tools to use to reach a greater audience.

But, too often, I am finding Social Media to be used in ways that undermine one’s leadership and influence. And when influence is lost, it is hard to gain it back.

I share this post because I find it sad when great, potential leaders use their Social Media platform inappropriately, and undercut their influence. This post was written by Carey Nieuwhof, and was posted here.

So here it is: 6 Ways to Undermine Your Leadership on Social Media: 

1. Portraying a life everyone suspects isn’t real

It’s so tempting to portray a perfectly manicured life.

But everyone knows your marriage isn’t perfect and that your kids aren’t really as magnificently brilliant or wonderfully behaved as you let them on to be.

Bragging has become an online staple for many. Whether it’s kids’ awesome report cards, your house that can almost look like glossy mag/Pinterest/cable TV, or the selfie you and your spouse took on your date night.

But dig a little deeper and you’d discover:

You tweeted the two As, on the report card, but not the Cs.

The house only really looks showcase when you hold the camera at just the right angle just before sunset and as long as the dog doesn’t photobomb the shot or eat the pillow and you keep the peeling paint out of the pic.

The selfie was taken a half hour after the fight ended.

I know, I know. We’ve all been there.

So what’s the key to building authentic influence online?

I think it’s being real.

You probably don’t want to disclose every high or every low, but you do want to share a slice of everyday.

The truth is most of us are pretty average. And average resonates.

People want to know you’re real. Because if you are, they can relate to you. (That’s why we love behind the scene looks at celebrities…just to know they’re real people too.)

Oh, and God has a habit of using ordinary people.

2. Overdisclosing your struggles

So portraying a perfect life underdiscloses your struggles. But does being real mean you should overdisclose them?

Not in the least.

When you overdisclose your struggles (“I’m having a bad day, AGAIN”), you help nobody.

When you talk about your long list of problems or what’s wrong with the world, you can miss the fact that you’re not in a conversation with anyone on those issues.

You’re just pulling a dump and run.


Just because you need to tell someone your struggling doesn’t mean you need to tell everyone you’re struggling.

Tell a friend, and keep your phone in your pocket.

3. Posting when you’re emotional…or angry

Nothing good happens when you’re angry. And when you’re emotional, you rarely say things you’re proud of later on.

So please don’t tell us about it.

Sometimes you see emotional status updates like “So disappointed….” or “I can’t believe that just happened…”

I don’t know about you, but it makes me think the person just wants someone to take the bait and ask what happened or, more sadly, that the person doesn’t have anyone to talk to.

If you start throwing some store that didn’t process your return well, some leader or some other victim of your anger under the bus, it makes us wonder what you’re saying about us when we’re not the room.

If you’re angry, process it. Don’t tweet it.

Go to sleep, wake up the next morning and my guess is your anger will be gone. Your status update won’t be though.

Unless of course, you never published it.

Much smarter.

4. Playing politics

This is a personal opinion, but I think when ministry leaders jump into partisan politics, they lose influence.

I’m a Canadian, so I realize I’m likely suspect on all fronts here, but God isn’t a democrat or a republican, or a liberal or a conservative, or labour or coalition. He’s God.

And as a ministry leader, I’m called to lead all people. Even the people I disagree with.

I think when you play politics online, you squander your influence. So I don’t.

And we have people who vote in every direction at our church, which I think means we’re being the church.

5. Saying something publicly because you don’t have the guts to say it privately

You’ve seen those status updates.

“Some people are impossible to deal with!”

“I wish people would just….”

It’s easier to say it publicly than it is privately, isn’t it? Absolutely. For all of us.

But great leadership demands that difficult conversations happen privately, not publicly.

Talk to the person you’re upset with, not about them.

Go direct.

6. Talking only about yourself

Who’s your social media about?

Is it all about you?

Are you talking with others?

Showcasing something bigger than yourself?

Celebrating others?

We are all narcissists in one form or another, but social media has given us a platform to take self-indulgence and self-absorption to a whole new level.

We are in the middle of the rise of the selfie-generation. And with it comes a curse: a life devoted to self ultimately leaves us alone.

If you want to leverage influence well, spotlight others, even the people you lead.

A lot of us admire Donald Miller, but one of the things that makes his work so great is that although as a writer he tells his own story, he so often showcases others and has redesigned his blog to feature many writers. I love that.

Don’t make it all about you. Your influence will grow.

Those are 6 things I see that undercut influence online.


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