When I heard about PeopleFirm joining forces with the Training and Learning Development Community to create a new series called Seeds of Insight: Growing in Leadership, I eagerly began to tune into the weekly Tuesday 8am PST webcasts. The series is of particular interest to me because it unearths a level of personal depth that many yearn for in their daily conversations. Listening to the recent leader interviews about community, experience, and impact has helped me reflect upon my own career and glean some new insights.
Let’s focus on community in this blog post.
What is Community?
Community is defined as a feeling of fellowship with others as a result of recognizing common attitudes, interests, and goals. This seems very fitting for our work lives, right? We are all working and striving towards a common goal, ideally one aligned with our interests and enabled by our attitude. Community is happening all around us, inside and outside of work. Any intentional group with embedded relationships is a community, and it can serve as a powerful vehicle for growth and development.
How has community personally impacted my leadership?
I’ve been lucky to belong to some pretty awesome communities, which have allowed me to strengthen my leadership and facilitation skills. By volunteering for new opportunities I’ve practiced setting a direction, establishing a clear process and roles, and navigating group dynamics throughout. I’ve managed kitchens, conferences, and I’ve even orchestrated a few musical events! Volunteering has allowed me to validate the importance of engagement in any process. By empowering teams, I have learned how to let go, steer when necessary, and allow the group to take hold. This has translated well to my role at PeopleFirm, as a core belief in every project is the importance of people engagement!
How can community help an organization and vice versa?
Community strengthens the social networks of an organizational system in which we work in every day. Organizations can establish networks such as Employee Resource Groups to connect individuals with one another in a new capacity, outside of regular projects. This strengthens relationships and allows new ideas to cross-pollinate between teams. It also enables that intangible value of trust, which fosters a healthy culture and overall effectiveness. Organizations also have a duty to support their local communities, by donating time and resources to important causes like the environment or the homeless. We spend a majority of our lives within our organizations, so it’s important that we feel we are able to foster community inside and out.
My overall insight is that we need to not only notice when we are operating within a community, but we also need to take advantage of the gifts that community has to offer us. We can support each other in establishing more formal and purposeful communities, but then it is up to us to do the work.
Stay tuned for my next blog post, focused on experience!