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4 ways a leader's social currency can have a positive impact on team trust.

Updated: Jul 31, 2020

With the 2020 summer coming to a close, life has never been more normal. Sorry, did I say 2020? I meant 2019, 2020 is the most disruptive year in my lifetime. This disruption has created chaos on how leaders traditionally use their social currency to create an impact on their team. So I did some research and this is what I found.

Defining Social Currency: Social currency is the power of a network based on the presence of significant linkages between parties and the ability to share and receive meaningful information. Social currency is most impactful when the strengths of personal relationships are maximized for the betterment of all. Below are four ways leaders can maximize social currency to create trust, emphasizes the strengths of the team, and drives organizational culture.

The Art of the Conversation: The art of conversation really lies in the art of listening, not talking. We are all 8-year kids that want to be heard. How would listing positively impact a team? How would listening drive trust, engagement, and build social currency to accomplish the seemingly impossible? Listening creates a thread of trust in a network of people and is fundamental in creating social currency.

The Espousing of the Good:

If listening is the cornerstone of great conversations, being a leader who espouses the values that reflect the team, the division, and the organization creates the social fabric that holds a common connection around a mission. When a leader focuses on what is working well, not what is broke, the team will drive to replicate what is working and accelerate productivity. Thus deepening collaboration and strengthening the social currency of the leader

The Exchange of Content: Do you remember playing whisper down the lane as a kid? It always felt great when a message was delivered, and it was still funny when it got all twisted like a pretzel. In both cases, the exchange of content allowed for and drove a consensus (e.g., consensus that the message was right or the message was wrong). Consequently, when a leader provides space for the exchange of information from team member to a team member, shared meaning and understanding occurs, resulting in the stitch of psychological trust. Increasing the transparency needed to build a leader's social currency.

Personal Motivation: What is getting you out of bed to be a better leader? Personal motivation captures values based on its influence on employees’ personal development (e.g., improved self-esteem). Personal motivation is the web that drives and delivers results. Human connection, regardless of in the office or leading from home, is a human need that provides the ripple effect through the creation of a social network. A leader's mindset will dictate the strength of their social currency.

The idea of social currency is simple. If a leader engages in great conversations by listening, looks for what is working, provide an environment where exchanging information is welcomed, and holds the mindset creating an emotional connection, they increase what is possible. All of these lead to the notion that if a leader holds social currency, they can positively influence an organization’s values, mission, and team, and most important their bottom-line.

In the view of qChange, the leader in the center of a ripple effect. When they have a positive Leader Experience the effect ripples through the organization.

Begin building your social capital by installing the qChange Leader Experience on Teams.

James Kelley, PhD.


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