In looking at Al Gore’s use of all media channels include social media, he exhibits transformational leadership with all four factors of Bass’ model (Northouse 2016, p. 169) being present and except for one factor being individualised consideration the other three factors are strong. This is due to his charisma that is backed by a strong sense of trust that people have in him due to both attribution and behavioural factors (Northouse 2016, p.167) as well as a strong set of ethical values with his actions being focused on the greater good and doing the right thing.
Al is also an inspirational speaker, an engaging author with his movies on climate change being informative and entertaining whereby he uses them to set high expectations for his followers by challenging their beliefs and asking them to be creative in helping with climate change.
Individualised consideration is the weaker than the other factors of transformational leadership due to that fact that he has a global audience, however social media provides an ideal opportunity to address this.
When looking at his use of social media through the transformational leadership lens, individual consideration remains a weak link despite the potential for social media to strengthen this, with intellectual stimulation also becoming weak due to the supporting role of social media and the lack of engagement with his followers.
At address these shortfalls, Al should considerably increase his follower base and then actively engaging with them. The suggestions regarding the factor of individualised consideration are: –
- By asking followers to help increase the follower base;
- Responding timely to relevant follower’s comments posted and to encourage appropriate behaviour for followers to understand that he will comment if their response is appropriate;
- When answering comments, ask questions of them and about them to enhance engagement;
- Reward outstanding followers by recognising their contribution as a post on social media; and
- Ask followers to tell their stories about their war on climate change.
Regarding the factor of intellectual stimulation, the suggestions are: –
- Reduce repetitiveness of messages by ensuring the same message isn’t repeated day after day;
- Set challenges for the followers such as how to increase his follower base
- Create unique content that is related for all the channels of social media that better suits the formats used; and
- Ask followers for advice, views, opinions and suggestions on issues.
As a final suggestion, whilst the factor of inspirational motivation is strong, a suggestion to increase motivation of followers is to focus less on himself, rather focus more on developing examples of outstanding followers and their achievements. (Morris, Brotheridge & Urbanski 2005, p. 1324)
This provides a convenient segue into authentic leadership.
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