A community cannot reach its full potential without dedicated effective leadership. Community leadership helps develop and nurture a place that not only brings people together but helps improve the quality of life for members. What does it take to be a community leader? This is a person who supports and enables members, to develop deeper relationships and connections.
A leader is interested in improving their community and finds ways to contribute to these changes. Anyone willing to step up and make a difference can be a leader in their community. Let’s take a closer look at how to take care of your community and what it means to be a leader.
Creating a Community Care Network
Part of being a leader in a community is recognizing and meeting needs. The AARP developed a do-it-yourself step-by-step method for building a community network that meets the needs of its members. This guide doesn’t just apply to people over the age of fifty. It applies to anyone who wants to take more of a leadership role in their community.
Step 1: Assess Wants and Skills
Whether it is through a survey, phone call, or direct conversation, identify what community members need and how they might like to help. Start a conversation and find out the greatest needs of the community. These conversations should also include discovering what skills people have and how they can use them to help. Start asking people if they want to be part of a community care team.
Step 2: Find Team Leaders
Once you have identified what people need and how others are willing to help, you can organize members into teams. Ask members if they are willing to head up a team. While the AARP used driving, grocery shopping, and lawn care as team examples, make teams for whatever meets your community’s needs. School carpool, highway clean up, daycare, local art committee, and more- there is no limit to the need you can meet. Reach out to local businesses and schools to ask about ways to meet bigger needs. You will be surprised at the generosity of your community.
Step 3: Engage Team Members and Community
Start getting together to discuss how to implement these ideas. Find an effective way to communicate with everybody so no one is frustrated or left out. It might help to have one of your team leaders be your social media manager to keep everything consistent and up to date.
Steps 4 & 5: Offer Help
Begin offering help to the larger community. Invite members to join projects or ask for help. Communicate clearly who to contact for what they need. Even if you don’t see an immediate need, you are planting a seed for the future. Organize and mobilize teams to fill the needs as they come up.
Step 6: Build on Your Foundation
Once you get going, keep in contact with your teams about how things are going and how they can improve. Ask for constructive feedback and keep lines of communication clear.
Becoming a Leader of a Community
Very few people are actual natural leaders. It takes time and a willingness to learn to be an effective leader. So how do you become a leader of a community? There are a few things you can do to improve your leadership skills as you pursue building a network.
- Immersion – get thrown in the deep end and it sinks or swims time. Pretty much it’s learning to lead or drown.
- Emulating other leaders – watch the people you respect and how they handle situations. Observe what they do and try to do the same.
- Find a mentor – Have someone you can go to for advice, someone with experience leading.
- Training – Take classes, read a book, or get specialized training.
What is a Community Leader?
A community leader is usually an informal, unelected individual that has stepped up to take voluntary responsibility in the community. Their goal is to make changes that improve community members’ lives. These are people who have integrity and courage and have a commitment to caring about others. They need to have creativity and flexibility as they persuade and influence the members of their community. Very few people start as good leaders, but they can learn as long as they are willing to try.
Connect Your Community with StayTouch
StayTouch is an app that combines modern networking and easy relationship management. Build a community with ease, instantly exchange information, and explore scheduling and time management functions. Make notes and create reminders to reach out regularly to your network of contacts, helping you build a stronger community. Contact us to learn more.