Being a Leader means Creating Community

When I began this series of articles in August, I honestly did not know if there was a purpose other than getting a few ideas out there. However, the overwhelming response I received solidified my last thought on being a leader in 2017.

Leaders need to create a community. That community can exist within your organization, amongst peers across companies, your city, and so on; but the key is that you invest in creating community wherever you go. The importance of community stems from the fact that teams where can be inspired by a leader, but it is often not enough to make a team truly succeed. What is far more powerful is having a team that is invested in each other. What does this mean? It means that a team that has built community will police themselves and challenge each other.

One of my favorite moments was when a young developer with whom I worked received a code review from a more senior developer, who happened to be her manager, and she immediately sent it back because he had missed two requirements. She and I had our usual one on one later that week and she relayed to me how scary it was to challenge her manager, but she knew that our team had agreed that we would never be satisfied with subpar work. This is a perfect example of true community.

A true community is not just about being geographically close to someone or part of the same social web network. It’s about feeling connected and responsible for what happens.~ Berg

When community exists, the role of a leader is fully realized because ultimately leading is empowering the parts to become a whole that fully understands their role and the ultimate goal. Most importantly, a community generally creates opportunities for more leaders to rise up. In technology specifically, this is where you will find individuals raise their hand to be a SME for a specific technology, take on mentoring more junior developers, or take the lead on more complex problems.

You may be wondering how one creates a community. Here are a few examples:

  • Have 1:1s early and often with your team
  • Advocate for your team and their professional development
  • Encourage your team to meet in non-business moments like lunch or coffee
  • Sponsor team outings
  • Create a private Slack channel for the team to communicate thoughts
  • Celebrate each team member and encourage the team to do so as well

These are just a few of hundreds of possible community building activities that you can dream up. You’ll also notice that none of these ideas are technology sector specific. This is because ultimately all of these concepts are translatable to any industry.

This is the third and final article in a series: The first is Being a leader in 2017 begins with Empathy and the second is Being a Leader in 2017 is Enhanced by Listening.

Some other articles from me that you might enjoy:

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