Recognizing the Importance of Community in Your Organization
When it comes to the idea of fostering a sense of community, many of us naturally begin to think about the place where we live – of the cities, suburbs, villages and towns that we call home. Of course, it's only natural that we seek a sense of belonging in our neighborhoods because our home is a place where we not only seek shelter and safety, but a place where we hope to live the life we envision for ourselves and for those dear to us.
But what about in our organization? In the places where we work? How many of us try to engender and nurture a sense of community among the people we lead and work with? Shouldn't there also be a drive to create the kind of environment where we not only collectively succeed, but thrive?
The importance of this in today's leadership is so critical that it's identified in my new book, “Leadership Vertigo: Why Even the Best Leaders Go Off Course and How They Can Get Back On Track”, as one of four “leadership principles” leaders need to consistently exhibit to be effective in their roles. That we ensure through our actions and words we're creating that kind of environment where our employees feel a sense of belonging and purpose; of being driven to commit their full selves to our organization because they see the value in our shared vision.
Consider, for example, whenever a natural disaster hits a neighbourhood – events like forest fires, floods, and tornadoes. Notice how, regardless of where the disaster hit, you will always see neighbours reaching out to help those around them who were affected worse than they were. Of how the community of people rally together around a common purpose – to not just clean up the aftermath of the destruction, but to rebuild and become collectively stronger in the face of this loss.
Imagine, now, creating that kind of motivation and drive in your organization. Imagine creating a workforce where your employees move beyond simply performing the tasks assigned to them to discovering ways to improve the way you operate. Imagine creating a workforce where senior management holds themselves to a higher standard because they see you holding yourself to that same high level of expectation.
The fact is we all see at the end of the day the value of fostering a sense of community because we feel it when we walk or drive down the street where our home is. We feel that sense of belonging and connectedness, where we understand how what happens to those around us impacts us and our families as well. And we see how when we work together, when we respect one another and recognize the contributions we make, how we can create this collaborative environment that we want to be a part of and support its success.
We've seen time and again the numerous studies demonstrating persisting low levels of engagement in today's workplaces, in large part because employees feel disconnected between what they do and what matters to their organization. If we are to finally turn this decline around, we need to recognize that as leaders, we need to foster that sense of community which will not only help our employees feel that sense of belonging, but also a sense of purpose in the collective efforts they make towards our long-term goals.
Tanveer Naseer is an award-winning and internationally-acclaimed leadership writer and keynote speaker. He is also the Principal and Founder of Tanveer Naseer Leadership, a leadership coaching firm that works with executives and managers to help them develop leadership and team-building competencies to guide organizational growth and development.
His first book, “Leadership Vertigo: Why Even the Best Leaders Go Off Course and How They Can Get Back On Track” is now available both online (Amazon, B&N, etc) and in bookstores. You can read more of his writings on leadership and workplace interactions on his award-winning blog at TanveerNaseer.com. You can also follow him on Twitter - @TanveerNaseer.