Building Community for Better Leadership
How would you feel having to journey alone through a dark forest?
I think it’s fair to say that the absence of light, the unforeseen obstructions, and the exposure to potential dangers would leave you feeling vulnerable and afraid.
Now, how would this experience compare to having even a single companion by your side? Multiply that companion by several more. How might the confidence of having others at your side impact the success of your journey?
Having a strong support system in place is vital to reaching your goals and to your overall resilience, adaptability, and even to great leadership.
This support system is cultivated by forming genuine bonds with others. When you deepen your connection with others, you align your values, your vision, and your strategy. If you build a strong community at work, you can get through that dark forest without too much fear. This is how you minimize unproductive behaviours at work, dissipate toxicity, and maximize your collective wellness.
Leading Can Be Lonely
Everyone experiences moments of discouragement. Even leaders.
But the common assumption is that those in leadership roles should be unflappable. The weight of this expectation places an inordinate amount of pressure on leaders to mask any of their fears, doubts, or worries. This pressure is then compounded by the fact that leaders are often already feeling isolated in their times of stress.
Even though leaders are seen as isolated, that doesn’t mean they have to be. In fact, building a strong community around you will not just ease that feeling of isolation and take off some pressure, but it will actually make you a better leader.
How Can Building Community Help?
When leaders consider themselves as belonging to a team, rather than leading over a team, the benefits can be immense.
A community at work that seeks to encourage and support one another is not only productive, but it also serves to boost leadership confidence.
This helps you, as a leader, empower yourself to lead diligently and compassionately. Your team, feeling connected to you, is then motivated to support the community and perform at a higher level.
To get there, though, means a transformation has to happen for most leaders and their teams.
How Do You Build Community?
By way of promoting, cultivating, and nurturing healthy relationships, you can surround yourself with like-minded, empathetic, and cooperative individuals — even at work. A sense of community promotes a healthy workplace culture that leads to a sense of purpose for you and for your team.
Here are some ways to do it: Encourage dialogue, honour boundaries, personally offer your help, and implement a zero-tolerance approach to dealing with discrimination of any kind. By doing this continually, you will have shifted the environment from a group of colleagues to a unified community that finds joy in their work.
And you too will benefit from that sense of joy.
Leaders are only as good as their support, and, as a leader, you cannot arrive at any meaningful destination alone. The practice of community building establishes trust, which, in turn, earns you the support you need to hold fast to the greater vision and achieve your goals together.
Some Questions to Consider:
If you’re wondering whether you could benefit from a stronger community bond, ask yourself the following questions. Answer honestly to get the best results:
- Do my employees, bosses, and coworkers know and understand my values?
- Can I identify areas of toxicity within my work or home environment? Can I identify the sources?
- What are some ways that I can build authentic relationships with my team instead of just managing their work? (i.e., getting to know them by way of meaningful conversations or enrolling in ConsciousLead coaching for strategic, goal-focused advice.)
- How can I see past personality differences and connect with others on the basis of our shared vision and values?
- Can I create a balance between establishing boundaries and remaining open?
- Would a heightened sense of community in the office increase collaboration and motivation? What actions will I take to achieve this?