Over the past month I’ve had three different CEOs ask me about my blog. Interestingly, two of the three asked me the same two questions (almost word-for-word): (1) Why do I blog; and, (2) Has my blogging caused any significant issues in my workplace? I’ll come back to these questions shortly.
Separation of Work and Professional Opinions
If I have learned anything from my use of social media over the past several months, it is this: It is becoming increasingly difficult to separate what I do from who I am. It seems that the decision to become active in your profession outside of your day job no longer allows for the clean dichotomies of yesteryear. So the question I wrestle now is whether there should be a reasonable expectation of separation between my official work opinions, and my personal and professional opinions (yes, they do sometimes differ). Should my title, position or specific role as an “executive” affect the answer to that question?
Fortunately, in regard to my intention to keep writing this blog, the CEOs who posed these questions are not one to whom I report (although I still hold great respect and admiration for these CEOs). I am forthright with leaders in my organization concerning my social media activity, professional activity, and I am always open to direct and timely feedback - I want to deal directly with any concerns that may exist. I am committed to the short- and long-term success of my organization.
But, I am also interested in joining a much broarder professional dialogue outside the walls that house me; that is how I now learn as a HR leader, and partially how I will bring new ideas and innovations to my workplace, and hopefully to my profession. The underlying factor in this equation is trust. Not trusting your executives (or your employees) seems to be a leadership issue well beyond the scope of socia media and blogs.
The Answer is in the Questions
The two questions posed to me are suggestive of how some CEOs view social media in the context of executive roles. Asking me why I blog is either an attempt to solicit a “real” motive for publicly sharing thoughts and opinions, or it is just simply to satisfy their own curiosity. Asking me if my blogging has caused any issues in my workplace assumes that blogging is likely to be damaging (or at least a risk) to an organization, and I would infer that it conflicts with their personal views about traditional leadership behavior.
The question that I got from my CEO immediately after I disclosed my intent to experiment with an HR blog is this: How will you (I) use the knowledge and experience gained to improve the way that we communicate within our oganization?
The answer is in the question.
What do you think?
[Photo Credit: jscreationzs]