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The Power of Community

[Today’s Tuesday Reading is from Glenn Brule, MOR Associates Leadership Coach. Glenn may be reached at [email protected].]

“There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about.” – Margaret J. Wheatley

I have been fortunate enough to be part of many different communities throughout my life.  I can’t emphasize enough how important they have been in contributing to my own personal sense of belonging and growth. I’ve been privileged to witness how communities overcome major goals and challenges, heal the less fortunate, and create lifelong bonds of mutual support.  Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs clearly outlines a sense of belonging in its third tier – “Love and Belonging,” and includes such characterizations as friendship, family, intimacy and sense of connection.

So what is a community? At its core a community is a group of people that share something in common. What members in this community share can be anything from a profession, to family, religion, geography, a goal or common mission. Most importantly however, a safe and caring community is one that has a connection through trust, vulnerability, and a genuine desire to care for one another.

The power of community can come in many dimensions and when realized, strengthen relationships for the community as a whole. A MOR maxim cites that “relationships are currency” and this becomes evident in our programs as cohorts realize the benefits of a learning community through their networking and support for one another.

There are, as I have witnessed, 5 core benefits of community:

  1. With diversity comes wisdom – when I have carefully considered the make-up of great communities it always impresses me how diversity lends itself to wisdom, empowered decision making and inspiration. The simple nature of collective experiences allows for this to easily manifest itself into support and belief.
  1. Support and belief within any community is fundamental. Without it there is no community. In any community where support and belief are strong, both the individual and group excel in a collective force that constitutes a combination of courage and reinforcing self-worth. This in turn enables the opportunity to push limits.
  1. Pushing limits on what is possible in terms of a shared vision and goals enables a community to aspire and hold each other accountable, encouraging stretching beyond what seems capable or even what is called for. The power of many is often quickly realized.  Pushing limits and seeing possibilities realized then increases group motivation. 
  1. Borrowed or shared motivation is one of many bi-products of a strong community and is often attributed to the collective sense of desire to care for one another. When faced with challenges the collective whole will naturally borrow from individual motivation and create a shared experience that in most cases can overcome the most difficult challenges. This helps enable resilience, or the ability to bounce back in the face of shared challenges.
  1. Resilience is yet another bi-product of community. Where change and challenge may be a struggle for an individual, a community can demonstrate the aforementioned resilience as the lever needed to enable the wisdom, belief, drive, and motivation necessary to survive complex situations regardless of circumstances.

I hope that over the course of your lifetime you have the opportunity to engage with communities and experience the full potential that trust, vulnerability and the genuine desire to care for one another can have on both individual and collective well-being. Set a goal, reach out to your cohort (present or past), invest in your learning team, alumni or any of the MOR family and become part of a connected community.

Leaderly Yours,

This Week’s Survey

When and where have you personally experienced the full potential of community as described in this Tuesday Reading?

From Last Week

Last week we asked: How does it feel when you state, ‘I am a leader?’

  • 45% said I have a mindset of being a leader.
  • 27% said I am in transition toward being a leader.
  • 15% said I feel like an imposter acting as a leader.
  • 10% said I am too busy to think about being a leader.
  • 3% said I don’t understand the point of “being” a leader.

Juxtaposing last week’s and this week’s readings brings us to an important question: how are you building community as a leader?  For the 72% of us who either possess the mindset of a leader or are transitioning, building community is generally an integral part of our toolkit as a leader.  For the 15% of us who feel imposterism about leadership, remember it is generally only felt in our own mind and not experienced about us by others.  Seek feedback from trusted advisors in your community on your strengths and opportunities in this new role.  For the 10% of us who feel too busy to think about being a leader, consider urgency vs. importance… what part of your busyness is the result of working on things that ultimately are not important, and how do you shift the balance?  Finally, for the small number of us who don’t understand the point of being a leader, hopefully this week’s reading provides some inspiration to reach out to leaders you admire in your community to learn how they have evolved as a leader.