Social media celebrities come from all walks of life, and everyone from stay-at-home parents to glamorous grandparents can earn a decent buck from promoted posts. But influencing isn’t just the preserve of the Insta-famous: leaders should appoint advocates within their own organisations to help spread their vision.
Strong relationships with internal influencers come with many benefits. Values and culture should always come from the top down and bottom up, and advocates are the essential links. These internal influencers will see the CEO as a strong leader. They’ll share their values and be keen to promote their messages among their teams.
Influencers and advocates could include top graduates in the organisation who are showing real promise, a junior leader who is being mentored by the CEO, or people within the organisation who the CEO believes are powerful because of the results they deliver. What’s important for the CEO is to ensure that their vision and own personal brand are clearly communicated to their advocate.
Any good CEO should value and actively encourage diversity in all areas of their operations, and identifying influencers is no different. If a CEO builds up a group of influencers who don’t represent diverse views, their impact will be limited and progression will be stifled.
Build up a diverse network of internal influencers by being very accessible as a CEO, having your own unique selling points, making sure people know what they are and building on them. You need to be clear what your vision for the organisation is and how you want to achieve it and make sure key people within the business know this.
It’s basically about displaying all the traits a good leader should have. A good CEO will invite opinions from the people they’ve identified as influencers and listen to them. When it comes to implementing, for example, change management or a new performance management process, they will consult the influencers, make their own vision clear and ask them to gauge opinion and feed it back. Teams will see their concerns as being listened to and a CEO who is engaging with employees, listening to their responses and acting on them.