02/09/2017 10:38 EST | Updated 02/09/2017 10:38 EST

Daily News And Social Media Can Drive Leadership Conversations

Gary Burchell via Getty Images

We've heard it before: Leadership drives behaviour. Model the way. Leadership is intelligence, honesty and doing the right thing.

As a leader in an organization, we hope to have the skill, savvy, and emotional intelligence to lead in a way that inspires and invigorates those around us. We hope that our actions and reactions show others what leadership behaviour looks like in a myriad of circumstances. We work with our employees, colleagues, clients and stakeholders to demonstrate how we are as leaders without flaunting or worrying about our title and position.

What we also look to do is to earn the respect of those around. We know that it is our responsibility to be an effective leader across, and around the organization. We hope that our action, reactions and purpose helps us grow and evolve to a level of competency and culpability that is appropriate to our level of leadership.

So why is it that every day in print, television, digital news, and in social media, there are dozen of examples of how NOT to behave, how NOT to act, and how NOT to communicate effectively. There are satires being produced for television, cartoons produced for print and online media, and social media posts and responses pointing out the flaws of leadership behaviour.

What can we do with this information so it turns into a learning tool, stays apolitical and helps our teams become better leaders?

I recommend that you do three things. First, ensure you have a clear idea of what behaviours are valued in your workplace. Second, look at the behaviours that are not and will not be tolerated in your workplace. Third, set up a meeting with your team(s) (direct reports and matrixed) and have an open conversation about WHY your title does not trump your behaviour, and HOW you are is more important that WHAT you area. How your social footprint cannot be separated from your personal beliefs and does define who you are. How people perceive behaviours, action and reaction, and basic intelligence, and how that can damage your personal and business brand, and your company's brand. Share with your team the list of behaviours that are valued and not valued within your organization.

I did a presentation last year on effective communications in person and online. The key learning was HOW you behave and WHAT you say how others determines WHO you are. The lines are tremendously blurred in the world today and you can no longer be a different person at home, and another at work, and yet another at play. Social and digital media platforms has taken away the safety net and we are the emperors without our clothes.

I personally think that's okay. There is an accountability now, like never before. And, if we have a high level of self-awareness and emotional intelligence, we can look to the news, and look to social and digital media with dozens of lessons of what not to do and create opportunity for conversation and learning.

Remember the days of show and tell, or taking news clippings to school for discussions on current affairs? My point is, use today's stories to drive conversations with your teams about leadership, behaviours, perception, brand and reputation. You'll be a better leader for it.