Twitter, Diversity and Emotional Intelligence - [website] Email Print
Published: 22nd of May 2019 by: Debbie Engelbrecht

It is late on a Friday afternoon and I am sitting pondering the effect of Twitter on the world. Okay not the everyday stuff, but the sports stars, celebrities, influencers and politicians using the medium to air their views.

I don't understand. I truly do not.

Firstly if you are in a position where you have thousands and millions of twitter followers, surely you take this position seriously. You are clearly a leader of some kind, especially if you take the definition of a leader being someone who has followers. [Peter Drucker]

With leadership comes great responsibility. For the way you conduct yourself, for the way you treat others and for the potential consequences of your actions. As a leader you should also know that situational leadership [] is a real thing. One does not lead all people in the same way, nor do you handle all situations in the same way. Adjustment to the situation is necessary.

How then do some of these leaders get it so wrong on Twitter?
Of late I refer to Israel Folau []
and Helen Zille [], as well as countless others...
Check out this article on Times Live to get an idea of what goes on in that weird and wonderful Twitterverse. []

My personal opinion for anyone who is interested (and no I do not have a personal twitter account, you will simply have to comment in the space below if you are keen on it) is that a combination of factors play a role.

1. Publicity at any cost? Let's face it, we know it works, just ask David Bowie. Come on, Google him if you don't know who he is ;)
2. Inclusivity is seen as a theoretical exercise or political correctness by many people and we often pay lip service, or simply to not recognise that our POV can be seen as divisive
3. Individuals have trigger points and when we are triggered Emotional Intelligence can fly out the window, we forget to act kindly and appropriately for the situation
4. There is always a right time and place for any discussion, getting that wrong seldom delivers a good outcome.

In today's abbreviated world where there is so much data competing for our attention, the consequences of an individual tweet can be devastating. Jobs are lost. Individual reputations are tainted by that one tweet for ever.

But what is also important to me is the effect on the followers. And if you are a true leader you will be aware of this. People look to you as a mentor, your influence on others is often not even acknowledged by them, but it shows. For example someone who adopts a phrase you use. A person who adopts your work ethic, a team that respects the people you respect and so we continue.
Let us know your take on this?

Staff Training is a South African soft skills training provider with more than 60 workshops on offer. Email us at for more info or give us a call at 0861 996 660

© Debbie Engelbrecht 2019

Debbie is the MD at Staff Training, providing soft skills and leadership training for South Africans since 2000. Should you wish for Staff Training to put together an annual training package for you covering aspects of management, diversity, wellness and self-mastery, please email

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