This January, for the first time, I jumped on the “3 words for the new year” train.
I wasn’t intending to pick three words, but my New Year’s Day journal entry just went in that direction … so I followed it through.
It’s something I’ve seen a lot of people do, most notably Chris Brogan.
The idea is to choose three action-oriented words that will help guide your mindset and activity throughout the new year. You then review the words regularly to keep the ideas they represent top of mind and, in turn, keep you on track.
I chose these three words:
I won’t go into all of the personal and work reasons why I chose each word, and why they are already helping me get off to a good start in 2021, but I do want to focus on the community-specific contexts for each one.
Gratitude is essential for true servant leadership
The best kind of community leadership is servant leadership.
And servant leadership isn’t possible without a healthy dose of genuine gratitude for the people who have chosen to be members of your community.
When you feel grateful for the time, attention, and money your members invest in your community, you are motivated to give them a great experience and help them achieve a worthwhile transformation.
In the absence of gratitude, it’s far too easy for your mindset to shift toward the inverse. You can develop an inflated sense of your own impact and stature, and forget that what really matters is how you’ll serve your members next … not how you served them in the past.
Do be careful with the concept of “genuine gratitude” though. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that intentional gratitude is somehow disingenuous, or that if you don’t wake up every morning overwhelmed with thoughts of gratitude that you somehow aren’t grateful enough.
Gratitude works best when it is a practice — which means being intentional about making space in your regular schedule to reflect on it and express it.
My goal this year is to be more intentional reflecting on and expressing my feelings of gratitude for the members of my communities. I don’t want my genuine appreciation for them to go unconsidered by me or unexpressed to them.
And on that note …
Thank you for reading Primility! Your presence reading these words gives meaning to the effort I put into writing them. I’m incredibly grateful for that.
The Appreciation Paradigm of Grateful Leadership | Greenleaf
Mindfulness helps you connect better in a virtual world
The current state of our COVID-cautious world does not allow for much in-person community interaction. (And with good reason.)
As a result, most communities have been forced into a state of online-only communication. This isn’t ideal, but the reality is that community interaction has been moving online in increasingly higher proportions anyway. The pandemic simply accelerated well-established trends.
Without the energy of face-to-face interactions, it can be more difficult to truly develop connections with people. And while no current technology platform can replace the power of being in-person, being more mindful during our community interactions can help us remember more and connect better.
It’s easy to view the recurring work of community engagement — replying to emails, contributing to comment threads, reading about new members, even participating in live webinars and chats, etc. — as busy work to check off a to-do list.
But if you think you can engage your community effectively while on autopilot or multi-tasking, I think you’re wrong.
Look, maybe your brain can handle that kind of cognitive load and still be present, and still remember important information about your members, but I sure know mine cannot.
So my goal this year is to be more focused and more present while doing my community engagement work. I wouldn’t be checking my phone, tweeting, or watching TV if I was at an in-person event with my members, so I’m going to get better about not doing it when I’m with them online either.
What Does Great Engagement Look Like? | FeverBee
Make short-term sacrifices to invest in the long-term durability of your community
We’re all busy. We’re all cognitively overloaded.
So it’s easy, in individual moments, to seek the easiest path to a finish line and take it.
The problem is that those individual moments add up, and the ultimate finish line may not end up being the one we initially planned to reach. This is why it’s so important to resist the urge for the easy and instead focus on what’s right or what’s best.
When you make these kinds of short-term sacrifices with an eye toward the bigger picture, you are investing in yourself and in the future of your community.
- Instead of creating an another recurring post from scratch, take the extra time now to build a template that will save you time later.
- Instead of rifling through your accountability check-ins with easy platitudes so you can finish in five minutes, take the extra ten minutes to really read and write something meaningful.
- Instead of sticking with a platform that isn’t serving your members well, work over a weekend to migrate onto a new platform that will serve current and future members better.
You get the idea.
Community commerce is not a quick-hit revenue generator. You better be in it to win it over the long haul, or you’re eventually going to cost yourself money and authority.
So adopting a mindset of investment and patience, instead of one focused on ruthless efficiency, will set you up for more success in the long run.
Patience in Building an Online Community | Randy Ksar
Gratitude, mindfulness, and investment, as I’ve described them here, are all natural antidotes to the feelings of pride that can get any community member leaning a bit too far out over their skis.
Stay grateful, stay mindful, and stay focused on the big picture, and you’ll have the humility necessary to be the best online community leader you can be.
Thank you for reading this issue of Primility.
Please consider forwarding it to a friend who wants to be a better servant leader and build a strong online community.