Welcome to the 8th issue of Conversation Matters, a twice-monthly newsletter by me, Kathy Drewien, with a focus on leadership, collective wisdom, and whole hearts.
Hi there, glistening raindrop.
Leadership conveys everything from heroism to unmatched bravery to endless charisma. Because of this broad scope, it can be difficult to see the hundreds of tiny opportunities for leadership each day. But boy howdy! We can sure pinpoint the lack of leadership. Am I right?
Community leadership is about inspiring, bonding, connecting, caring, trusting, and stewarding. All of that can be done just as easily online as offline. Leadership is a dynamic, rewarding, sorely-needed skillset in most organizations. And many avoid stepping into it.
Now is the time for our kind of leadership. Community leadership.
Here’s the thing: you are a leader, even if you don’t have or want a formal title. People come to be seen as leaders because they make a concerted commitment and effort in a particular direction that matters. If you build online communities, you do that every day you show up, as long as you do so with intention and purpose.
So whether your title is “Community Manager” or “Developer Advocate” or something unique, if you help run a community, you are a de facto leader too.
- You can’t be all things to all people. Nor can you be the leader that everyone needs. Instead, it is important to understand and evaluate how you want to lead and who else you can work with to get the job done. This ecosystem map from Deepa Iyer helps leaders evaluate their place in the ecosystem. Iyer created it for social movements but it works for those leading online communities as well.
- Leaders build trust by knowing their strengths and weaknesses. Harvard professor Francis Frei, co-author of the book Begin with Trust, created the leadership trust triangle as a framework for identifying those strengths and weaknesses. Trust requires authenticity, empathy, and logic. If you are weak in one area, it is your “wobble” and needs correcting. But with a few minor adjustments, you will see astounding results.
Clickables Stumbled Upon
- Why Truly Sociable People Hate Parties A short, animated film, that talks about how a real connection between two people is built up from making ourselves vulnerable to another person. An interesting look at a core insight of community building.
- How to Kill Passive-Aggressive Popups and Other Acts of Marketing Self-Sabotage. Just don’t: “I’m a mealy brained moron and want to pass up this deal because I don’t know what’s good for me.”
- How to Read More Books. Pro tip: Read whatever the hell you want to read in the beginning because the real thing that you’re focused on is building the habit of reading, not necessarily the knowledge.
- Community health is rarely “how many members do we have in the community?” Community health is more closely tied to:
– Are members connected to one another?
– Is your community tied to a purpose they can believe in?
– Do members feel valued to be there?
- Which is more important, belonging or inclusion? Is belonging a burden?
- Rather than a time of crisis, what if we looked at this moment as an opportunity to have our “finest hour”? Imagine if a year or two from now we looked back on this situation and told the stories of how we came together as a team in our companies, our community, as a nation, and as members of this planet.
- Being candid about the ways in which you are feeling vulnerable can be humanizing for the whole team. In that moment of saying aloud, “I don’t think I can endure another thing!” others feel seen and understood.
You are invited to join me in the café to explore these conversations, ideas that give you pause, or soak up the goodness of humanity.
I hope you are safe, cared for, robust in your faith, carrying on with gladness, holding hope high, believing the best, and finding creative ways to flourish.
Thanks for reading this far. Thanks for your kindness and generosity.
Stay safe. Stay sane. Wear a mask.