LEADERS AND SOCIAL MEDIA

“Even a child is known by their doings, whether their work is pure, and whether it is right.” – Proverbs 20:11

At a time when everything we say and do is on social media and moves quickly around the globe, our leaders, especially politicians, can’t afford to be irresponsible and careless in their use of words.

It helps when Leaders respect their positions of leadership and think about what they say and do, and how it can be construed by others. They have to pay close attention to their own communications on Twitter, Facebook, and so on, and to carefully research on what they post or re-post. Many of us find it totally reprehensible for those in high positions of leadership to stoop low and fill the airwaves with lies. 

TIP: Leaders don’t say whatever they think, however they want. That’s poor communication.

If you are a leader, always remember that you’re being watched all the time. It is critical that we set the right example by making sure that our statements and actions are sending the desired message.  Research shows that people trust leaders when their actions match their words. We learn from James Kouzes and Barry Posner that people will be inspired to follow you only if they find you and your message believable. I Listened to them explain the characteristics of an admired leader in a YouTube clip titled, “Credibility: How Leaders Gain and Lose It, Why People Demand It.” They found that four values were selected nearly 65% of the time over 20 years. These are:

Honesty. Truthful, has integrity, is trustworthy, has character, is trusting;

Competence. Capable, proficient, effective, gets the job done, professional;

Inspiring. Uplifting, enthusiastic, energetic; and

Forward-looking. Visionary, foresighted, concerned about the future, sense of direction.

In short, credibility matters for leaders. It turns out that most people are looking for a leader who is credible. People will be inspired to follow you only if they find you and your message believable.

As a coach, trainer and a consultant, I often tell my students; a leadership position does not grant leadership qualities to the person occupying the position if they don’t have them. But there is something else it does – it magnifies. Leadership position is a magnifier. It magnifies what a person already is. What this means is that if a person occupying the position of leadership is an irresponsible person, a hater, a racist or a bigot, the position they occupy magnifies their behaviors. It allows all to see the characteristics manifested by that individual. In our day and age, social media has made this easier for the whole world to see not only what our leaders stand for, but also the content of their being.

Social media has also become the choice vehicle for leaders when they want to pit one group against another, by planting seeds of hatred, so as to cause chaos and anarchy.

If you have been paying close attention, you realize that many of our politicians today and especially our president, have been attempting to spark racial violence in America.  I agree with Jim Meisner Jr., author of Soar to Success the Wright Way, when he says:

“By pitting black against white, rich white men like Trump further their own economic domination of all races, just as his racist father did. By focusing on the different race of their neighbors, poor whites are manipulated to defend their wealthy exploiters. And people are suffering. Suffering people tell us that they are suffering, and the more racist you are the less likely you are to acknowledge their suffering.”

This is the nature of racist bigotry; and everything that Trump is doing has all the markings of it. This is beyond being prejudice.

TIP: Bigotry is stronger than prejudice, a more severe mindset and often accompanied by discriminatory behavior. It’s arrogant and mean-spirited, but requires neither systems nor power to engage in. But luckily for Trump, he has both the systems and the power (his position and the office readily offer them) to propagate what he has engineered (and borrowed from his past). It’s clear that he is not afraid of engaging and practicing it (bigotry). If you have been awake, you know he has been busy. And he is not going to stop now. But the society can and should stop him by voting him out. This is the only way we will rescue and save ourselves from oblivion.

TIP: The family is not ordinarily thought of as an environmental influence, but it clearly is. Why do you think Jim Meisner Jr. is referencing what president Trump is doing today to what his father did in the past?

America needs a leader who will walk the talk. And, the right talk.

Now an important question; how bad can it possibly get before Election Day?

But first, how did we get here?

It started with Trump’s presidency destroying immigrant’s families, separating babies from their parents and engaging in massive deportations by establishing draconian laws. Pockets of Americans came out in support of immigrants and protested their harsh treatment; many immigrants are eagerly waiting for voters to take their stand regarding Trump in the November election.

TIP: President Trump presidency has made the U.S. turn its back on refugees. It has accepted fewer refugees than ever before in our country’s history.

Immigrants and Refugees

“Refugees didn’t just escape a place. They had to escape a thousand memories until they’d put enough time and distance between them and their misery to wake to a better day.” – Nadia Hashimi

We know that people who migrate to a new country as a refugee and asylee are typically people who are forced to flee their homes. The average stay in a refugee camp as you wait to be accepted by the receiving country is currently seventeen years.

Imagine: What would it take for you to grab your family and run from your home? Imagine leaving behind everything for which you have worked so hard, fleeing to a place you have never been, where you don’t know a soul. Can you imagine having one hour to pack, choosing items from your home to embark on what may become a long, arduous journey? What would you leave behind? Envision how terrible a situation would be for you to leave everything behind, putting yourself and your family at the mercy of strangers. Before they reach America or any other country welcoming refugees, many of our refugee’s family’s neighbors have overcome these formidable challenges and other trauma.

Lack of Respect to the Rule of Law

I mentioned earlier how pockets of Americans joined in protest against massive deportations. I also want to mention something we saw during the recent protests that followed George Floyd’s murder. We saw lack of respect to the rule of law when police unleashed violence on peaceful protesters. The same police attacked journalists who were covering the protesters in broad daylight. This was done to keep Americans from knowing what was happening out there in the streets.

TIP: The Nazis destroyed the independence of the press by a series of draconian laws.

As things stand now, one thing is certain; although it will be possible to roll back and dismantle the drastic changes to the US immigration by Trump’s administration, the impact of the extensive changes will continue for years to come. Why is this so? Because of the intense volume and pace of changes the Trump administration has enacted while in office. In the last four years, Trump has taken more than 400 executive actions on immigration. (Source: Sarah Pierce, a policy analyst at the Migration Policy Institute)

Remember the question I posed earlier – how bad can it possibly get before Election Day? 

What has happened and continues to happen should make every American uncomfortable. And not only that, it should rouse every voter to action.

TIP: Indecision is a decision, inaction is an action, and both action and inaction have consequences, which have ramifications.