The age of access


If you have been reading the blog for awhile, you have probably heard me mention Anthony Melchiorri (@AnthonyHotels) of Hotel Impossible. He does a great job of helping hotel managers and owners turn their business around.

And I’ve talked to him. :o)

Well, I’ve tweeted to him and he’s replied. I may be showing my age here, but I thought it was cool to interact with someone who is on TV.  Growing up in the 70’s and 80’s, not only was this not the norm, it was downright rare.

But now, access to anyone at anytime is right there for the taking. Social media has created a connection between celebrities, companies and anyone with a Facebook or Twitter account. From a marketing standpoint, this helps create loyalty and relationships that traditional marketing can’t touch. It creates a transparency that many consumers crave so they can really feel good about doing business with a particular company.

From a leadership standpoint, this transparency can also help build loyalty and trust among your staff.  But there could also be a downside.

One of the mantras I heard as a young leader was to not go out after work (especially to parties) with your employees. It is possible to learn things you don’t want to know, and too much “transparency” in this case can really blur the line between friend and leader, which could undermine your authority.

Today, being connected to your employees via social media can provide the same access. Is this what you want? Are your employees expecting it?

Do you think your employees are expecting the same access to you that they have with other brands and companies? If so, how and where do you draw the line to maintain the integrity of the leader/employee relationship?

I don’t know that there is one clear-cut answer to this.  I would love to hear your thoughts on how you are handling it.

Thanks for reading!

Matt

Now is the time to start thinking about midseason burnout – don’t let this phenomenon plague your staff this season.  Book Matt to bring his Myth of Midseason Burnout program to your facility this spring! (The program has already gotten high praise from audiences at WWA, IAAPA, and AIMS!)

4 thoughts on “The age of access

  1. Hi Matt! Facebook is a sticky one! The problem is that once you are a “Friend” everything is opened up to them. Even if you do everything possible to filter what you post, it’s hard to control what others will tag you in. When your team members get to know you on a personal level that line does begin to blur, and once it’s blurred, it’s very hard to go back. From a management standpoint, it is best to just completely separate yourself from your team members on your personal Facebook page. A few years ago I began locking up my Facebook page by cranking up my privacy settings. Nothing goes on my page without my consent and I am always monitoring it. I have filtered all of my photos for anything questionable, including anything that could be perceived as an alcoholic beverage. But, I still wanted to be connected with my team members. That connection is incredibly important on so many levels. So, I created my “Funtown Ben” page. I use my personal page as just that, a personal page for myself and my close friends. My Funtown page is for maintaining a connection/relationship with my team members throughout the year. I am now able to accomplish everything I need to on Facebook without “blurring” the line. Well…..atleast on my end. Sometimes I think they forget we are friends on facebook. Don’t tell me your sick when your Facebook page says you “can’t wait to go to the beach today!” One rule I have always followed – I always wait for the friend request to come from them. I never initiate.

    • Thanks for your comment, Ben! Insightful as always!

      I hadn’t thought about who “initiates” the friend request, but I think you make a great point. I think if a leader tries to do it, it could come off as a requirement, or big brother-ish. An employee may feel pressured to accept it and think you might be trying to spy on them. I think your tactic sends a much better message.

      Thanks for sharing!

      Matt

  2. Each leader should have his or her own “brand.” Often times, part of that brand is knowing that you should be consistent in your actions and attitude between work and home. And I think social media plays a role in that because it breaks down barriers and blurs the lines of privacy. Why not embrace social media to build relationships with your employees? To do that, though, you must consider everything you post as something that each of your employees might read. Think twice before posting that picture of you being unsafe or unprofessional. Your employees expect you to have a life and personality outside of work, but to remain a credible leader, make sure the way you act (and expect them to act) at work is congruent with how your employees may see you outside of work. To Ben’s point, this means you must take an active role in editing and approving photos and posts from others to be sure that you maintain control of your online brand.

    • Great points about balance, Chris! I would imagine that’s where most people get in trouble – sharing too much or not being aware of their own leadership “brand”. Very often young leaders are already “connected” with their employees when they get promoted, so pulling back on that kind of access can be difficult. Very important, though, as you point out!

      Thanks!

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