“Leadership is scarce because few people are willing to go through the discomfort required to lead.” – Seth Godin, Tribes
Brand communities are very powerful, but they don’t form and grow on their own. They need leadership.
Along the social media highway you will find countless abandoned and dying groups. They were started with good intentions, but after a few months they floundered. The missing ingredient is a commitment to leadership.
Leaders Are Generous
Many brands create communities out of ego gratification. They create and nurture their community to fulfill their own needs, which is usually “buy my stuff.” But communities don’t work that way.
Communities aren’t about you; they’re about everyone else.
Leaders who are generous and committed to the development of their communities succeed most often. Their groups thrives because they’re authentic. And their members engage, participate and follow, because they see and respect the leaders’ actions.
Communities are built on shared experiences and shared responsibility. Leaders set the tone and the culture for everyone to be engaged and successful.
Leaders show up and empower their members
People don’t come together and form into a vibrant community in a vacuum. They require leadership to bring them together, and give them purpose.
In my post, Communities Make Brands Sticky, I talked about my experiences with Element CrossFit’s community. One of the lessons Alex Cibiri, the owner of Element CrossFit, shared with me is leaders have to show up.
Alex explained, “In the early days the community is you. You are the one people are connecting with. You are the one people are engaging with.” When they were building the community, Alex made a point of showing up and participating in as many of the group activities as he could.
By participating and supporting his members, Alex validated his community. He was the glue that brought people from different backgrounds and experiences together.
Showing up and participating is hard work. You may have other priorities, but the group needs that support to thrive.
Invest in people
We can dissect communities six ways from Sunday, but really they boil down to people and relationships.
Communities are drawn together through a shared experience, a shared interest or a shared value, but they are held together by leaders. It’s the leaders that keep the communities going and growing.
If you’re serious about community
If you’re interested in developing your community, Seth Godin’s book Tribes offers great insights. It’s filled with great wisdom and anecdotes on the power of community, and what they take to lead.