Wesley Oler IV

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Qualities for Successful Community Leadership

Qualities for Successful Community Leadership

Though anyone can theoretically be a leader, not having the right qualities can put you at a serious disadvantage toward becoming a successful leader. Unlike regular leadership, community leadership is unique as it’s not about managing or coordinating different types of people, or imposing your own ideas onto others. It’s taking the lead on a community project or idea while considering the thoughts and opinions of everyone within your community to make it a success. To make sure you’re successful, try to work on the following qualities if you don’t already possess them:


Boost the strengths of others


Your main workforce as a community leader will be volunteers, so unlike with businesses, you won’t have the luxury to pick and choose who will be working on any given project with you. Because of this, it’s your job to figure out what the strengths and interests of each volunteer are, then maximize those talents and skills. Doing this will ensure that your volunteers are working to their fullest potential, thus making a meaningful contribution to the community.


Lean on your team


You’re not expected to take on every part of the project by yourself when you’re a community leader. No one will be able to do so without either wearing themselves out or finishing the project poorly. Volunteer workers each have personal strengths that can be used to your advantage: each skill set can balance what needs to be done with who can accomplish it. You can also work on making it fun, which will help to motivate others to do their part.


Lead, don’t dictate


In a community project, no one likes someone who assumes the role of a hierarchal leader and dictates what must be done to those “down below.” Unlike some leadership models, community leadership relies on the capacity to let everyone shine. Even without these qualities within them, everyone has the ability to be a leader; it’s only a matter of bringing them out. Community leaders need to live by example to nurture this out in others, not from above. No special privileges should be taken, and your sole job shouldn’t be to delegate tasks to others “below” you. Instead, walk beside your community members rather than sitting above them—this will make a huge difference toward success. 


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