Leadership can be difficult sometimes; people often look to you to have all the answers when, in reality, you are coming up with solutions and necessary steps on the fly. There’s no one size fits all approach to leadership, thankfully. We can all take our own approach and apply the strategies that work best for us. Bearing this in mind, we wanted to look at some of the foundational aspects of a great community leader; this isn’t to say that you must have these traits in order to be a great leader! Perhaps you can take this list and put some of the traits to use in your own leadership role to help you better connect with those you serve.
A Great Leader Lives to Serve Others
If you think back on all of the positions you’ve held within a company, you can probably come up with some individuals that didn’t seem to fit their leadership role quite right. Whether they assumed too much superiority or simply asked too much of everyone, they probably made you feel undervalued and never sung praises of your utility. This is an example of a poor leader! While some leadership roles will require you to perform tasks that others cannot, it should never be the focal point of your interaction with those you serve with.
No one person is better than another in a community whose needs are inexplicably linked.
A Community Leader Shepherds Others
There will come a time when others will need to take your place! Cultivating more great leaders today ensures the successful future of your community; this is one reason why so many communities invest so much into their youth. Take the time to lift up and cultivate leadership in others; your community will not regret it.
He or She Practices Accountability
We are all human and subject to our tendency towards power and greed. However, a great leader recognizes this and chooses people who can hold them accountable for every action, promise, and spoken word. If our community sees that we cannot stay accountable to ourselves, we have no place serving them or asking them to serve us – in any way.
A Leader Gets Their Hands Dirty
A community is comprised of more than ideas and benefits meetings. Community service projects should involve physical acts of service, of which the leaders should be front and center. Put on some gloves, pick up some trash, lay down some concrete, and serve your community in the way that the citizens around you already do. Becoming one with our community often means displaying our humanity and “coming down from the palace”. If we can’t stand side-by-side with our own, we don’t deserve to lead them.
A Great Community Leader Understands Teamwork
Aside from the leader himself (herself) pitching in when the hard work comes around, a great leader should be able to identify strengths and weaknesses in others. Furthermore, they should know how to address each strength and weakness in a way that elevates and encourages others to become the best versions of themselves. Strengths can be highlighted and used to complement projects that require that trait, while those with weaknesses can be paired with someone who is strong in that area!
An Analogy on Leadership and Teamwork
We are all important in the success of our communities. After all, a sturdy wooden table requires many tools to be used. The chainsaw must first cut down the tree, but he is not the most important tool. A sawmill, planer, and table saw must all be used to create the pieces that will eventually fit together properly – but they are not the most important tools. If the table will have rounded legs or use only wooden components, a lathe and knife could come in handy. However, these are not the most important tools.
By the time the project is completed, everyone will have done their part in creating a beautiful piece of furniture that will stand the test of time. You can cut corners and use pre-fabricated, sub-par materials, but the end result will not be the same. A true community leader understands this foundational concept and knows how to manage each portion of a project effectively.
Furthermore, a great leader realizes that he is not the woodworker creating the table but a mere tool alongside tools that is critical in the completion of the project. How can you facilitate leadership and utility in those around you?