Define Value on Twitter

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I’m skipping a grammar post this week to add my thoughts to a post Jason Mollica had last week. His post, Value to your community came from a past Twitter conversation he, Rachel Lawley and I had.

My comment was that the litmus test that I use when deciding when to follow a PR pro, “social media expert” or other big name on Twitter is, “Would you work with that person in real life?”

I realize, after reading the comments on Jason’s post, that my initial comment may have been taken a bit out of context. There is some background information that would help further explain my personal litmus test.

I first joined Twitter after the urging of several friends. Some of whom are in the PR business and some of who are not. Those that are in the business suggested I check out various Top 100 PR People on Twitter lists. Their advice was to start by following them all and then pare them down based on the relevant information in their tweets. Keep following those that added to my knowledge base and stop following those that didn’t.

Several of the people I followed because they were big names, didn’t add anything for me. Some of them have become close confidants and advisers and I can’t imagine operating without them. I would even go so far as to call some of them friends.

Then there’s the middle ground of people I follow on Twitter because they’re fun and entertaining. While they might not necessarily add value, they make me laugh. I’ll be the first to admit, I follow Sesame Street because the tweets make me happy. Would working every day with Elmo eventually irritate me? Probably.

For me, Kelly Misevich‘s comment on Jason Mollica’s post sums it up, “Social media is all about we, not me. You have to think about your followers and ‘friends’ when you are using social media.”

I see Twitter as a place to learn because I will never know it all, as a place to meet people I might not others have met and to laugh because a day without laughter is the saddest day of all.

Why Low Morale is Detrimental

Photo from coverage of the Caterpillar Layoffs

Low morale can have a direct correlation with a drop in productivity and a lack of loyalty.

Some offices are known for having a terribly low morale and others are known for a high morale. While compensation and other tangible incentives play a part in the morale of an office, I’ve found it isn’t the defining factor in workplace happiness.

The first article that pops up in a Google search of “office morale” is one in 2007 by Rodney Southern, How to Boost Morale in Your Office and Workplace.

He has some great general suggestions for keeping morale high. Make the weekends and days off truly days off.

“Repeated calls at home on your day off will destroy morale over time, and usually leads to an employee looking for work elsewhere,” he writes.

The second and in my opinion far more important is “Do not compare Jack to Jane — When assigning a task to someone, do not monitor their progress based on the speed of others.”

I couldn’t agree more. Most of us aren’t factory workers. We can achieve realistic goals that are based on our abilities and skills, not on the abilities and skills our higher-ups wish we had.

This leads me to a related issue. If you as a supervisor do not take full advantage of your employees skills and talents and instead go to someone less qualified to write or design or interview someone, don’t be surprised when that person puts in their two weeks notice. People want to feel valued. They want to feel as if the work they do is challenging and interesting. The moment neither of those two things happens, they’ll start looking hard for something else.

Interested in another view of how other locations handle the morale issue, I posed the question to Jason Mollica, PR manager at Carr Marketing Comm. in Amherst, New York. His blog, One Guys Journey, can be found here.

“The most important thing in keeping office morale high is to be respectful of all around you,” he said. “Although there may disagreements, it’s important to realize that the minute you go negative, that’s when the game changes.”

Mollica said he once had a boss who started out very helpful. However, as time went on, this same helpful boss became very critical.

“I’m all for constructive criticism, but when you tell someone you can’t do something or that everything you do is wrong in their book, that’s when the respect level drops to zero,” he said. “It also degrades morale.”

As for what qualities make a good leader, the answer to Mollica is obvious.

“In the toughest situations, it’s how you handle things that show others the type of leader you are,” he said. “Good leaders make sure that morale doesn’t get low.”

Maybe that’s the key. The issue isn’t low morale, it is ineffectual leadership. Not everyone is going to be the best leader all the time, but I would take a boss who is a great leader some of the time, over one who leads with fear.