I saw a headline today about the Prime Minister of Norway, Jens Stoltenberg, doing something unconventional. Most of us in this part of the world would consider it outrageous and simply unbelievable. He went out as a taxi driver in order to get first hand information on what people really think. While laughing and comparing it to our Nigerian situation it occurred to me how similar it was to the topic I was planning to write on – blogging and leadership.
Blogging and leadership sound like two completely unrelated issues yet they are so related. I’ve read a good number of blogs and each time I found myself impressed by what people are able to come up with I’m so inspired by the creativity and the beauty of the human mind. It was while I was reading a blog post that I was inspired to see the correlation between blogging and leadership. Without mincing words I’m just going to say that bloggers are either leaders or potential leaders and here’s 12 reasons why.
#1. Bloggers make better writers: Bloggers are writers already you say and right you are but isn’t it true that you learn by doing? Remember how many times you were made to copy and write the letters of the alphabets from A – Z as a kid? I remember thinking then that I already knew how to write those letters by heart and I didn’t see why I had to write them over and over again. With the benefit of hindsight now I understand that it was necessary to make me more confident in my abilities such that I didn’t have to even think about whether I was doing it right anymore for I was 100% certain. I always used to love writing. I would write any and everything that I could think about. Now I have found that by blogging I am able to write better, think faster, be more accurate in my grammatical expressions and of course more confident in my writing.
So what has that got to do with leadership? It is simple. We learn leadership by doing. You cannot be a leader in your mind. To be a good leader, you must successfully lead a handful of people and on to the next stage of a bigger number until you become very comfortable and confident in your leadership abilities. The more you lead the better you become at leading.
#2. Build your circle of Influence: Every successful blogger has a circle of influence because by writing you consistently project your ideas to your audience and if they agree with you, their mindset will be influenced. This is why you find people flocking to life-coaches and inspirational blogs. People are seeking for ideas and solutions and when you provide these on your blog you build your circle of influence.
So what has that got to do with leadership? It is simple. A good leader must be a good influencer. You lead by inspiration and influence. People look up to you for inspiration and when they begin to do things you expect of them even in your absence then you can say that you have successfully influenced them.
#3. Bloggers are followers: One of the first things I learnt about blogging was that to be a successful blogger you have to follow other bloggers except you are already a celebrity of course. It follows the basic rules of nature that to receive you have to give. Your blog followership does not grow by wishful thinking but by actively following and interacting with other bloggers. You get new insights, opinions and of course they might get to follow you back if they like what you have to offer. In that way your blog community grows and you become a successful blogger because with a greater number of followers you will have a greater influence on both your followers and those following them.
So what has that got to do with leadership? It is simple. A good leader must first be a good follower. A good leader leads by inspiration and not by commands. A good follower is one that helps the leader to achieve his mission successfully. It would be much easier to get your followers to follow you the way you want if you already have a good idea on how to follow others.
#4. By blogging you learn more about a group of people: Bloggers spend most of their time sharing their ideas and insights with their readers. Every idea you genuinely write on enables you to broaden your knowledge because readers may give a different insight to what you are writing about when they make comments on your post. Some readers may share their experiences with you and open your mind to some information you never had. In addition, it may help you to know what to write about next, what ideas to espouse depending on the kind of audience you have. Some A-list companies spend so much time and money testing out their products in focus groups. As a blogger, achieving this type of insight is a natural byproduct of your day-to-day routine
So what has that got to do with leadership? It is simple. A successful leader has to understand the people he is leading to know their needs, their expectations and the best way to serve them for every leader is essentially a servant. The same way a blogger learns about her audience and tailors her works to suit their needs, so also should a leader learn the needs of his people.
#5. Become an Expert in Your Field: We already know that most successful blogs usually focus on an area of expertise. People hardly blog on just about anything. Your blog has to have a specific theme. So we have people blogging in different sectors of human activities; from lifestyle to fashion, photography, food, religion, spirituality, personal journeys, health and what have you. Blogging helps you to build a brand and become an expert in your field. Just like #1 says about learning by doing, by blogging you become better at the area you write about and with time an expert in that area.
So what has that got to do with leadership? It is simple. To be a good leader, you will be more of an inspiration to your followers when you are very knowledgeable in the area you are leading them on. Imagine how embarrassing it would be if you had to ask your followers questions all the time, revealing your incompetence and ineptitude. Do you know what it is to work with a leader who has no knowledge of the field he is leading you on? A simple task may take years to complete.
#6. Build a Network: one of the benefits of blogging is the opportunity of meeting people with similar interests and like minds. Lots of good friendships have developed from blogging. How much easier is it to know someone when you can easily tell her character from her writing? By building an online community of friends you increase your network and knowledge of other people and cultures because we are talking about a global audience.
So what has that got to do with leadership? It is simple. Your leadership ability can be greatly influenced by your network. For instance, if you need information about a certain practice in India, you could ask one of your community of bloggers from that region to give you some insight. This of course gets simpler when you have built a level of trust.
#7. Talk to Your Idols: Through blogging you can form a relationship with people you look up to. Supposing you always wanted to become a professional photographer and you follow a notable photographer’s blog, from constantly commenting and bouncing off ideas with her she may become interested in getting to meet you. That way your dream of meeting your idol will be actualized.
So what has that got to do with leadership? It is simple. Most successful leaders started by learning from their mentors, someone that has succeeded in the field they are in. like the biblical Elijah – Elisha relationship, you can become a better leader by learning from the master in your field himself.
#8. Express Yourself: Perhaps one of the most exciting benefits of blogging is the opportunity to express yourself. You may be living in a region where you find it difficult or even dangerous to express yourself so blogging (perhaps anonymously) becomes a good outlet for you. Even just writing your thoughts could be very therapeutic. Also, you may get the opportunity to express your views on a political, social or religious issue through blogging.
So what has that got to do with leadership? It is simple. A good leader should be able to express herself articulately. By expressing your expectations or intentions to your followers effectively, you reduce the risk of improper implementation of your ideas.
#9. Help Others: The single most important reason for blogging should be to provide help to others. It is either you are providing access to information or opinion on topics or inspiration.
So what has that got to do with leadership? It is simple. Successful business owners will tell you that they began their business on areas in which people require help. The umbrella maker started making umbrellas because people needed to protect themselves from sunlight or rain. The supermarket owner knows that people would find it so much more convenient if they could pick all the things they need in one place. To succeed in leadership, you should focus on providing help for people and the rest will naturally following suit.
#10. Build Trust Online: As I stated in my last post, a lot of potential employers may check your profile online. By blogging on positive issues you will make people develop trust in you even before meeting you.
So what has that got to do with leadership? It is simple. To make a good leader, you should be able to obtain the trust of those following you. Also, it would be of much benefit to you to maintain a clean online personality.
#11. Research: The importance of research to a blogger cannot be overemphasized. You can hardly write about a topic you have limited knowledge of. So how do you increase your knowledge? Extensive research on the topic you wish to write about will make you a more reliable source and a better writer.
So what has that got to do with leadership? It is simple. To be a good leader you should be able to search for information and increase your knowledge of your area. The more knowledgeable you are as a leader, the more respect you will garner from your followers.
#12. Patience and Growth: Bloggers are just about the most patient people on earth. This is because there is hardly any blog that grows suddenly. It is a gradual process. As the blogger grows so does the blog.
So what has that got to do with leadership? It is simple. A good leader does not expect to become successful over-night. It is a gradual process of growth. Give yourself room for mistakes and know that a couple of years from now you will be better at what you do.
With all these who can help but say that bloggers make the best leaders? And just in case you are still wondering why I used the illustration of the Prime Minister of Norway at the beginning of my post, I did so because his actions reveal the positive characters that should be adopted by a good leader – listening to the people he is leading. So blog-away and develop the leader within you.