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May 2012 - Leaders Must Build Community

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Dr. John Kline

Leaders build community by making all persons feel like valued team members. Here are three behaviors that build community.

Think Team.  Sports teams teach the value of getting people to work together toward a common goal and backing each other up in case of a stumble, injury, or a bad play. Furthermore, when team members work together, motivation and commitment to the team are increased, and often a synergistic effect occurs.  The same is true with non-athletic organizations. Good people work together as a team and accomplish more than when working as individuals. Communicate and demonstrate the importance of teamwork.

Promote Consensus. At times leaders must make independent decisions, but increasingly, policy decisions are hammered out in the give-and-take of small-group discussions, with the goal being to reach consensus on the solution. Consensus must not be confused with unanimity. Consensus is simply agreeing to agree after all information is “on the table.”  When a group reaches consensus, individuals tend to support and implement a new policy willingly.  See the April 2002 column on “How to Promote Consensus.”

Encourage Others. Everyone needs encouragement.  The word encourage comes from two old French words: en, which means to “put in,” and corage, or courage.  So when you encourage others, you give them courage; and when you discourage them, you take their courage away.  Lack of encouragement when it is needed or expected can be discouraging.  When you encourage others you help them to be and do their very best.  Be an encourager.

Leaders who think team, promote consensus, and encourage others will build community.

John Kline
Montgomery, Alabama

May 2012 - Leaders Must Build Community
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