Becoming a leader who is worth following does not happen overnight. Any leader who is worth following has built a reputation on solid character and integrity. It takes time to win friends and influence people and build a platform filled with people who actually want to listen to you.
Because leaders are never “off the clock”, your life is comparable to living in a fishbowl. A fishbowl is made of glass, and it is very easy to see inside the bowl at any time. While a fish may not have had the choice to be place in the fishbowl, for a leader it simply comes with the path you have chosen.
Therefore, it is crucial to realize that living in a fishbowl means someone is always watching, listening, or following how you live your life.
Here are 8 common online mistakes that may be eroding your leadership platform without you even knowing it:
Failing to understand the “fishbowl”.
You may not have paparazzi stalking you like a Hollywood celebrity or Secret Service watching your every move like the POTUS, but people are always watching what you do, what you say, where you go, and how you live your life. You may not even be aware of whom you are leading or when you are leading them, but like it or not, you are always leading.
Posting inappropriate content.
It astounds me when I see another leader post pictures or statements online that seem to be incongruent with their own lives.
Be cautious about what you choose to post on your own media outlets. Being cautious means that you should consider what type of content will negatively affect your platform prior to posting any questionable content. This discernment seems to come naturally to some leaders whereas others seem to have no internal filter whatsoever.
If discernment isn’t your strong suit, before you post any content online, ask yourself: “Will this content cause me to lose credibility?” If you’re in doubt, then you probably have your answer.
Live to impress others.
Jesus said that people wouldn’t like you if you follow Him. Then again, you’re not living to impress people—you’re living to lead people.
While you shouldn’t care whether people like you, you should care when someone is undercutting your authority as a leader and ruining your impact—especially if the someone doing the undercutting is YOU.
I don’t want imply that you should not be real about your life to others. You should be. Be genuine. Be open. Be vulnerable. You can be real about your setbacks in life just the same as your victories. You don’t have to avoid controversy. People may not always like you or respect your opinions, but who cares? Be real, and enough people will love you for you.
I don’t always agree with other leaders, but just because I may disagree doesn’t mean that they have said or done something that compromises their integrity.
Strive to demonstrate integrity in your own life. Integrity describes who you are when nobody is watching. If what you tell people differs from what you post online, people won’t find you believable. Nor should they. Be the same person in all situations.
Try to be somebody else.
Be yourself. You have specific gifts and talents that God has given to you that make you uniquely equipped for the plans He has for you. You’re the best you that God has ever made, so be proud of yourself and what you contribute to the world.
Fail to set a good example.
1 Timothy 4:12 says, “Set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.”
Don’t just be a leader based on your title, but based on how you live your life. Set an example. Show people what they should value based on what you value.
Aristotle said, “There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.”
I would alter Aristotle’s quote slightly by saying, “There is only one way to avoid being a leader: do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.”
If you’re choosing to stay silent and not voice your thoughts and opinions, you are missing out on opportunities to lead people in the right direction. This is especially important for controversial topics get blasted all over the news and media. One of the most controversial people in the history of the world was Jesus, and He chose to speak up and live His life in such a way that He inspired others.
You can talk all day long about what is most important, but you will prove what is most important based on how you live your life. Don’t throw away your influence because of posting silly online content that undercuts your leadership voice. Make a commitment to use your social media platform as one more avenue to lead others. Stop ruining your reputation.
Question: Without sharing names, how have you witnessed leaders lose credibility based on how they live their lives?