Social Media and the Military Leader
Gary Klein
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  1. Speaking from a military perspective- Namely because I’m not well-informed on the civilian perspective on the issue, Social Media platforms can be epic “force multipliers” in the communication realm. As a Master’s degree student in Organizational Psychology, the number one barrier to unleashing the maximum potential to an organization and one of the greatest threats to organizational effectiveness was constantly communication Miscommunication or a lack of communication frequent stymied overcoming organizational shortfalls. Social media platforms provide an excellent tool for units to communicate effectively with families and a younger generation of Soldier that is used to being “plugged in” all the time. How do we do this? To a military member, the answer should be simple: training. Just like you wouldn’t send a platoon out on a mission without being properly equipped, it is that unit leadership’s responsibility to educate themselves on how to enhance their communication within their formatiuons. As an idea, I do this at night by carving out 30 minutes or so to read, share, tweet, write, and reflect on the social media net-scape from my Ipad. This is a relatively low-cost, high reward way to enhance your communication competence and try out new TTPs for communicating with your Soldiers and families.
  2. I’d like to echo one of The Stable of Leadership’s concerns. The more bountiful the information is, the more tempting it becomes for people that hope to do harm on us. Disciplined Initiative must be taken by all to ensure that we’re being responsible when we share information During an age where we seek to separate our digital selves from our actual selves, this does not provide an impenetrable shield from risks associated with such open communication. Additionally, the military has struggled with what information is “ok” to share and how it should be shared. My personal number one concern is being labeled as “unprofessional” by people who are not exactly sure what “professional” means in terms of digital communication and social identity. It’s so easy for our messages to be “lost in translation” and those misunderstandings to result in problems for our leaders.
  3. Professionally, my primary audience members are Company Level Leaders as a member of the CoCMD & PLT LDR team. I’m unequivocally passionate about leader(ship) development and I try to talk at (and with) those who share this passion. We owe it to our leaders and our Soldiers to be the “best” leaders we can for them. When I write, I write for them. When I read, I read for them. When I share, I share for them. This is my passion, and this is what keeps me Fired Up!
  4. Leadership Counts!