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United as One

| September 12, 2023

by Glenn Brule

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

I’ve been fortunate enough to be part of several communities, some of which were global in scale. The criticality of community in organizations is paramount. Thinking about the statement “Lead from Where You Are,” I’m adamant that every employee has a responsibility and plays a role in building a community within their organizations. Here are eight observations I have garnered over the years that I believe to be wonderful by-products of strong communities in no particular order.

  1. Employee Well-being: There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about. ~Margaret J. Wheatley. The power of community works as a collective whole. Feeling connected and supported by colleagues can help alleviate stress and feelings of isolation, leading to better overall mental and emotional health.
  1. Employee Engagement and Satisfaction: We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men. ~ Herman Melville. A strong sense of community fosters a positive work environment where employees feel connected, engaged, and valued. When individuals feel a sense of belonging, they are more likely to contribute to the collective whole.
  1. Innovation and Creativity: Alone, we can do so little; together we can do so much. ~ Helen Keller. It amazes me that, particularly under duress, communities will always pull together with little to no resources at their disposal. Deep from within a collective effort emerges innovation and creativity that germinate novel ideas and approaches. With or without urgency, encouraging experimentation and risk-taking is often a hallmark of a strong community.
  1. Collaboration and Communication: If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. ~ African Proverb. I’ve witnessed firsthand the brief moment when a group of people are apprehensive about communicating and collaborating. The tipping point comes when a facilitator or brave individual begins to lead the conversation. When the feelings of safety are validated, groups feel comfortable sharing ideas and opinions. This safety leads to better problem-solving and innovation. Cross-functional cooperation becomes more effective as individuals are willing to collaborate with colleagues from different departments. An all-hands-on-deck approach is far more effective than a siloed approach.
  1. Knowledge Sharing and Learning: The greatness in community is most accurately measured by the compassionate action of its members. ~ Coretta Scott King. A growth mindset and trust are the cornerstones upon which many things within a community can achieved. Where community members are open to learning through a shared experience, they excel collectively in critical competencies that drive the team forward. This openness can lead to faster onboarding for new employees and overall improvement of the organization’s capabilities.
  1. Retention and Talent Acquisition: Every successful individual knows that his or her achievement depends on a community of persons working together. ~ Paul Ryan. Three principles make the Laws of Attraction: Like attracts like, nature abhors a vacuum, and the present is always perfect. Organizations with a strong sense of community are more likely to attract top talent than those who do not foster community — organizations known for their strong sense of community draw in potential employees. Organizations tend to retain individuals longer when an employee feels connected and part of a great whole, part of something larger than themselves.
  1. Conflict Resolution: What should young people do with their lives today? Many things, obviously. But the most daring things is to create stable communities in which the terrible disease of loneliness can be cured. ~ Kurt Vonnegut. When individuals feel connected, they are more likely to address conflicts constructively and seek resolutions that benefit the team and organization. This pairs with the sense that collaboration and communication are the facilitators of conflict resolution, particularly where trust across the whole community is both fostered and embraced.
  1. Organizational Culture: Culture eats strategy for breakfast. ~ Peter Drucker. Where communities within organizations demonstrate consistent and authentic behaviors, the culture of an organization, its values, beliefs, attitudes, and systems are realized. Where community is the drive of culture, employee retention, attraction, brand identity, and overall engagement are higher than those organizations that do not foster strong communities.

One of the fundamental tenets of building a great community is intentionality. Intentionality is often guided by supporting values and principles and reinforced when required. The scope of a community must extend beyond grassroots efforts and be supported by leadership through active participation and intentionality. Everybody must play an active role in the development and support of a community. When done well, the sense of belonging, sense of a collective whole, and realization of the potential of the collective whole can be a compelling experience. 

Last week, we asked how well you delegate or entrust to others

  • 22% said OMG, it is such a challenge to delegate.
  • 29% said they’re getting better at it but still have a ways to go.
  • 22% said they’re okay enough with their ability to delegate.
  • 23% said they generally feel they delegate well.
  • 4% said they feel like the ability to delegate is a considerable strength.

Delegation, or entrusting others, is essential so they can learn, feel ownership, and see their work being valued. It also helps you to do the same by providing space for you to take on strategically important efforts that often seem to be delayed. As this week’s survey shows, most of us feel delegation is a skill we could enhance, with only 1 in 25 feeling it is a strength. What is one thing you could delegate today?