It Takes a Community to Be a Leader

by  Jon Mertz  |  Leadership Development

Leadership isn’t a solo endeavor.

If you go it alone:

You will not have anyone to support you in challenging times.

You will not have anyone to challenge you in troubling times.

You will not have meaningful conversations.

You will become stale in your ways.

You will become moldy in your ideas.

You will become paranoid.

You will become a jerk.

You will become insular.

If you embrace and interact with a community:

You will trust people.

You will be entrusted.

You will interact.

You will act.

You will listen.

You will be heard.

You will learn and grow.

You will serve.

You will be a better person.

You will be a better leader.

It takes a community to grow leaders.

Community is about interaction, accountability, listening, sharing, and doing. Community is about engaging people who have knowledge, experiences, insights, words to guide and offer, ears to listen and understand, and accept diversity as a way to strengthen.

Leadership is not always independence. It is always interdependence.

If you are not interdependent with a community, then you need to find one. If you are interdependent with a community, then you need to be open to invite others in. Leading is through example and there is no better example than how you lead in a community.

In Lead Change, we are expanding our community to another channel. In Google+, there are wonderful conversations and exchanges happening. This is an invitation to join the Lead Change social community and share, learn, and grow together. Each week, we will post a question of the week. Join in with your perspective.

Don’t make the Lead Change Google+ your only community though.

Get out into your neighborhoods and surrounding areas and start a monthly lunch, breakfast, or some small group. These conversations and relationships will make you a better leader as well as those who engage with you.

How are you building your community? How are you becoming a better leader through community?


Image from Veer with some rights and restrictions.

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About The Author

Articles By jon-mertz
Jon Mertz is one of the Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business and author of Activate Leadership: Aspen Truths to Empower Millennial Leaders. At Thin Difference, Jon writes and facilitates a conversation on how to empower, challenge, and guide the next generation of leaders.  »  View Profile

What People Are Saying

Jennifer Olney  |  05 Mar 2013  |  Reply

Thank you for being a part of my #bealeader community, Jon. Refreshing to hear your takes.

Jon Mertz  |  05 Mar 2013  |  Reply

Thanks, Jen. Grateful for all your work and setting an example in leading through community. Thanks! Jon

Mike Henry  |  05 Mar 2013  |  Reply

Jon, thanks for the great post and for leading the charge in the Google+ space. Impact is the difference we make. When we make a positive difference, we do it in the lives of others. If we want to make a difference, if we want to have impact, we have to do it in community. Thanks for being a part of this one. Your participation impacts me and many others. Thanks. Mike…

Jon Mertz  |  05 Mar 2013  |  Reply

Thanks, Mike. That means a lot coming from you! I appreciate the work you are doing to getting groups starting in our local communities, too. We are trying to do one in Dallas. Anyway, thanks for instigating this great community! Jon

Joseph Lalonde  |  05 Mar 2013  |  Reply

Spot on Jon! Leadership is all about building the community and helping others achieve while growing yourself.

I’m building my community by interacting with other leaders on a regular basis. Whether it’s through blogs, a weekly/monthly meetup, over Google Hangouts, or some other means. It’s all about forming the relationships that is spurring me forward.

Jon Mertz  |  05 Mar 2013  |  Reply

That is great, Joseph. I hope you joined our Lead Change Group in Google+, too. Do you have any thoughts or advice on starting a local leadership Meetup? I am interested in your experiences and advice. Thanks! Jon

Joseph Lalonde  |  06 Mar 2013  | 

I did take you guys up on the offer to join the group. Thanks for offering such a service.

I think local meetup groups are great but haven’t used the site to create one. Instead, I’ve found small packets of leaders that were already in my life and connected with them even more.

Audra August  |  05 Mar 2013  |  Reply

Its a beautiful thing! Building a strong community of leaders is a really powerful concept for individuals, teams, organizations and global networks. Its where leaders can be vulnerable, have each other’s backs, stretch their thinking, and bring real value to their organizations and stakeholders. This is truly about contributing to and creating something that is bigger than us. Thanks for sharing some thought provoking insights, Jon.

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