One of "side effects" of implementing of social software for internal communication is the emergence of informal leaders. The emergence is not a very accurate term since informal leaders exist in organizations without social intranet. A better way to describe the process is to say that informal leaders and their network centrality became more transparent. The research on characteristics of informal leaders is scarce. According to Pielstick’s (2000) study, informal leaders tend to be experts, engage in creative and reflective thinking, good in building teams and networking, they maybe charismatic, likeable people, have a sense of humor and like fun. They perceived to be fair, humble and altruistic. I have conducted a short study where I asked a group of employees to evaluate communication messages that were coming from formal and informal leaders. The format and the size of the messages were similar since formal and informal leaders use the same social software or the private social network. Employees thought the messages from informal leaders were more sincere, authentic, and honest. Informal leaders were perceived as more knowledgeable and open for dialog
Pielstick, C. D. (2000). Formal vs. informal leading: A comparative analysis. Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies, 7(3), 99-114.