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Why project managers should embrace social media

‘Social media encourages horizontal collaboration’

Students, recent graduates and those new to the workplace have grown up in the digital age, and as a result have already adapted to the new ways of working or learning that technology provides.

Devices for smartphones and tablets enable employees to collaborate, share knowledge and tap into valuable resources like mentoring.

The benefits that technology can provide businesses with include increased productivity, collaboration and the unlocking of growth. In other words, methods which increase the amount we are doing, but not the time it takes to do it.

While technology doesn’t substitute for experienced leadership, a leader’s ability to influence might be limited if they ignore the efficient ways of working that the majority of young people now embrace.

The business leaders of today should therefore tap into the digital expertise this new generation can bring to the workplace, to help enable organisational change and more efficient ways of doing things.

This is particularly necessary given that, for a lot of companies, social media remains in its infancy.

In order to rectify this, leaders in project management should help raise the profile and understanding of social media amongst their immediate reports and stakeholders.

Horizontal collaboration

One key area in which project management leaders should embrace social media is communication, due to its potential to make communication more effective.

In the McKinsey&Company article Six social-media skills every leader needs, Roland Deiser and Sylvain Newton write how:  “Social media encourages horizontal collaboration and unscripted conversations that travel in random paths across management hierarchies. It thereby short-circuits established power dynamics and traditional lines of communication.”

The flip side to this however is the detrimental effect that social media can have, with its propensity to allow too much information to be shared too freely, if not careful.

A strong leader today therefore needs to be able to capture social media opportunities and produce communication that is creative, authentic and of high quality, while at the same time, mitigate its risks.

For those that are able to do the above, as well as invest in the tools and technology that will expand employee participation through social media, the benefits are plain to see.

For project managers, this includes enabling team members to interact better, communicate more efficiently, cut down on emails, bring in more horizontal structures and give everyone access to the most up to date information that can be used to make informed decisions.

By facilitating the interactions of their team, these leaders will ensure their project always progresses toward its goals, and therefore enable their business or organisation and employees to grow and flourish.

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About Rebecca Leitch

Rebecca Leitch
Rebecca Leitch is a marketeer at TwentyEighty Strategy Execution - focused on bringing new project management content for the PM community.

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