social media @ work

This is a very touchy subject for a lot of people and for a lot of reasons. With companies doing all they can to protect their image versus the ability of people to post embarrassing or even incriminating things online via social media, it is a scramble for many companies to lock things down as much as they can; I’ve heard “hey, don’t tag me in the photo — people I work with are on my FB…” and I respect that.

There’s also the matter of adding your bosses, managers and even co-workers to your page and having that become a minefield leading people to create alt accounts and with them personas for the “presentable” version of themselves and their actual person. This I haven’t come to the point of doing. Instead, I have decided to take another kind of plunge; I added my bosses and co-workers I have established a rapport with outside of work and added them to my FB.

I don’t think this works for everyone, but it does work for me. In doing so and sharing who I am — which is at times deeply emotional and everything in between — I have created a culture within a culture at work. They have a view of me as a person outside of work that sometimes is brought back into my office in interesting ways.

Because of my allowing people at work to friend me on FB, they have seen my frustrations making me more human in their eyes. It, in turn, allows them to talk to me about theirs. They have seen me as a compassionate person via my posts, so they come to me when they need that compassion for work-related things. They have seen me write on my moments of weakness, so they are able to share their weakness. This, in turn, allows me to help them to be productive at work; don’t be fooled: no matter how professional you try to be, if something is on your heart at home, it will show up in your work performance and it is a good leader that is able to spot that person and speak to their heart directly or indirectly so that they can continue to be a good worker.

Hell, one of the workers here admitted some pretty serious and intensely personal things while I was in the middle of a remote connect session to fix things on their computer.

It also allows me unique insights into the thoughts of my co-workers. More often than not, the co-workers feel comfortable talking to me about their frustrations knowing that there is an element of humanity with me and in that, they share their frustrations. I, in turn, can discreetly share this information with my superiors and improve the work culture for everyone by suggesting changes without naming individuals. Since I find out about these things when they are happening because people want to share more with me sooner, it also keeps the pressure down and the disgruntled-ness to a minimum.

It’s even gotten to the point that we are all able to communicate with full respect and full honesty. My boss, with pride intact, apologizes regularly when he makes mistakes and at the same time has a firm hand on operations and sales and it is seamless. Our sales personnel can say that they need a spreadsheet and a hug in the same breath.

There is a sales meeting next week here. We will be talking about strategies and pipelines and resource allocation for product demos and content development. At the same time, thanks to starting a culture of people that are open to share their hearts, it feels more like a family reunion than anything.

Yes, I do like to brag on the people and group I work with in my company because I believe that, at the stage we are in, they are doing the relationship thing the right way and things as a whole are moving in a good direction and that is because people like myself and another person here are empathic and this company encourages that to thrive.

All of this from sharing FB. That said, YMMV, but even if this isn’t your way, I think every company can understand the benefit of having slightly-more-than-purely-professional relationships to co-workers. No, we can’t all be buddy-buddy and I am not buddy-buddy with everyone, but those that I connect to, I deeply connect to.

What about you? What are your thoughts here?

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