Stuck at that first step towards community leadership?
Perhaps you are a die-hard fan of a particularly obscure music genre. Or maybe you practice a reputable profession dominated by aggressive personalities. You want to create an online portal for the community but are afraid it won’t amount to anything.
A million and one reasons to NOT follow through are all holding hands and glaring at you menacingly.
They’re probably all understandable. The strongest aspirations can fail to mobilize even the boldest leaders past that first step.
But they shouldn’t stop YOU.
The truth about taking that first step is, you’ve probably been ready for quite some time.
Leadership no longer exists in a vacuum
One of the most common pitfalls is a false perception of what leadership actually is.
The global leadership landscape has undergone nothing short of a revolution, and particularly with regards to online communities. Old paradigms about leadership are beginning to lose ground.
Individual community members increasingly demand more active roles in community leadership.
This might explain why a staggering two thirds of millennials plan to leave their current employer by 2020. A decade ago, no one would have dreamed of such a thing. Today this truth is self-evident: employers who micromanage and keep their chips too close can’t inspire loyalty.
But its not just about dynamic leadership or the opportunity to participate. There’s also the fact that changing employers has become easier than changing smart phones.
That reason is the internet: an infinite expanse of places, people, ideas – all available at the click of a button.
Today’s leaders are forged in a globally interconnected megalopolis of online communities. And this is excellent news for leadership culture.
Local communities are no longer stuck with leadership that isn’t responsive to their needs and aspirations. They can reach past arm’s length for something better.
Conversely, emerging leaders don’t need to exhibit undesirable traits, and can choose an environment which best fits their natural talents.
People are looking for you
Another thing to keep in mind is that you are not alone.
The belief that no one shares your interests or taste is a common and unfortunate one.
Granted, there was a time when unique interests were enjoyed in a vacuum. But that is no longer the case.
A quick Google search today will lead you to a bustling online community centered on virtually any interest. Somewhere out there is a community looking for someone just like you.
It no longer matters that no one on your block shares your taste for vintage Garbage Pail Kids. Somewhere on the internet is a community where you can go to pursue that interest.
Understand as well that its not always a matter of you pursuing your interests.
Nothing puts you on the map like being a pioneer in your field. The internet is big enough to all but ensure that your interests are probably out there looking for you.
Can’t find a community centered on something you love? You’ve come to the right place. Capitalize on that by being the first to create what is missing!
Build a reputation. This takes some reaching out, but the effort is worth it. Join an existing community and engage it in ways that make you stand out.
Don’t be put off if the community you’ve found isn’t exactly what you thought it would be. The presence of a problem means the absence of a solution, and that is an opportunity to lead.
Work to solve the problem you’ve found in a way that presents value to everyone. The recognition and benefit you’ll get for doing this might surprise you.
Community leadership is about creating experiences
Get in the mindset of hosting events. Community leadership means actively engaging members through their common interests.
People bond by doing things together. Communities, in turn, develop through that internal bonding process.
If you have joined or formed a book club, for example, you can host a reading or discussion. If you enjoy a type of art, you can create a podcast where you interview members of the community.
One critical point here: its about the community, not just you. Most of the people you meet online have all the “stuff” they need — what they are looking for is experiences.
Provide your community with those experiences.
You want to foster an interactive environment where people feel like they can contribute. Don’t worry about people copying you. They will recall that you are the one who inspired them.
The nature of online communities makes this simple because they interact primarily through social media, forums, webinars and chat programs.
The wonderful thing about this is that you don’t have to manufacture widgets or produce mind-boggling art. You just have to love the same stuff that a handful or more of other people do.
This means hat all it takes to start is getting online and starting.
First impressions matter.
It’s a fact of life that people remember the bad and forget the good.
But that’s alright, because there’s ways to mitigate the risk of failure.
For starters, community leadership doesn’t always mean blowing people’s minds. Something simple done right is infinitely better than something elaborate done sloppy.
On that note, finding the optimal balance between customization and simplicity is essential.
Remember: it’s not about features, its about the overall experience.
Robust customization is great but can leave you looking clueless if you don’t know how to use it. Conversely, playing it too safe will prevent you from creating your desired atmosphere.
Probably the best place to start when developing your idea is by finding the right hosting platform.
One of the things RumbleTalk prides itself on is the ability to create just the right atmosphere.
We help create dynamic online experiences within your realm of control and experience. The result is a community event which brings members together while providing an opportunity for you to stand out.
The bottom line is most of what you need is already out there. The leadership wheel has been reinvented in a way that makes virtually anyone able to use it.
Things that were once entry barriers are increasingly being used as wedges with which to pry open stubborn doors.
All you need is to find one shoe that fits.