Communities Need Leadership

Community leadership is a learned skill and a style that you need to be comfortable with.

Communities Need Leadership

It's not that difficult to start something. The real measure of a community is how it survives over time.

Imagine your community as a garden...without someone to tend to it.

Without attention, it might seem like just a few weeds are popping up here and there—nothing major. But as time passes, those weeds begin to overrun the garden.

Nothing a few hours of hard work can't fix in a garden, but total chaos in your community.

The Weeds of Self-Interest

In a thriving community, whether it's a neighborhood association or an online forum, the collective goal should overshadow individual ones.

The shared understanding that "we're in this together" fosters an environment where people are motivated by the community's success.

This balance depends greatly on good leadership. When leadership is absent, this balance can quickly tip.

Here's what happens...

Loss of Shared Vision

Without a leader to steer the ship, the community can lose sight of its shared goals. What was once a united effort can fragment into individual agendas.

Erosion of Trust

Trust is the glue that holds a community together. When members start to question the direction or the decision-making process due to a lack of leadership, this trust can erode, leading to skepticism and withdrawal.

Increase in Conflicts

With no one to mediate or guide decisions, minor disagreements can escalate into major conflicts. The absence of a clear dispute resolution process means that they're more likely to fester and divide the community.

Unfulfilled Promise

The real tragedy of a leadership vacuum is the unfulfilled promise of the community.

People join a community to be a part of something bigger. A movement. A sense of momentum.

Communities are built on the understanding that together, we can achieve more than we can alone.

When leadership is present...

Groups Evolve Outward

People default to asking, "How can I help?" instead of "What's in it for me?" This behavior is contagious – positivity begets more positivity.

As a leader, you can plant a seed in a healthy community and it will blossom.

Increased Opportunities

A good leader can direct the community's collective energy towards common goals.

This is something that needs to be seen to be believed. As leader, you can model this behavior and conspire behind the scenes to spark activity.

Should anyone want to lead something, jump on the change to make it a reality.

Steering Back to Shared Success

Recognizing the power of leadership is only part of the equation.

But its hard to do that as a community builder – you're crazy busy already!

Here's are a few ways to steer the community towards a path of shared success:

Step Up or Step Back In

If you're in a position to take on a leadership role, consider stepping up. If you've stepped back, reassess how you can re-engage with the community in a leadership capacity.

Foster New Leaders

Encourage and support potential leaders within the community. Mentorship, training, and clear pathways to leadership can help fill the vacuum. This could be an improvement to the onboarding process, and offshoot from a cohort, or even 1-on-1 matching.

Reignite the Shared Vision

Work together to redefine the community's goals and vision. Follow up on what they are looking for and find those collective threads to unite. A clear, shared direction can re-energize members and refocus efforts on collective success.

Build Processes for Inclusivity and Decision-Making

Establish clear, democratic processes for making decisions and resolving conflicts. This helps rebuild trust and ensures everyone feels they have a stake in the community's future.

The Final Word

Community leadership is a learned skill and a style that you need to be comfortable with.

Part of this evolution is coming to terms with the fact that you are the organizer, not the expert.

Taking on this role will allow you to find the right people, pull them together, and create something other people will want to join.