Community Managers and the Art of Facilitating Communities Effectively

6 thoughts on “Community Managers and the Art of Facilitating Communities Effectively”

  1. For more concepts and names relating to community facilitation and management, I highly recommend Kevin Marks’ post from a few years ago: Here Comes Everybody – Tummlers, Geishas, Animateurs and Chief Conversation Officers help us listen.

    The idea you shared from HBR to Acknowledge your own limitations so others can do the same really resonates. I’m reminded of Marianne Williamson’s inspiring (and often misattributed) quote:

    Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.’ We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

    I would say a corollary to Williamson’s wisdom is that as we allow light to shine on our vulnerabilities and shadows (e.g., limitations about which we may feel embarrassed), we also unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

    Finally, if this comment hasn’t already gone on too long, and the following isn’t too far afield, I was recently reviewing my notes from Howard Schultz’ first book, “Pour Your Heart Into It”, where he shares some related wisdom regarding the empowering effects of vulnerability and openness:

    “Today, with hindsight, I’m convinced that speaking frankly [during the disappointing holiday season of 1995] was the right course of action. The head of a company can’t, and shouldn’t, always be the cheerleader. He has to be willing to let his people see the weaknesses and the pain, as long as they understand them in the context of the company’s greater accomplishments.
    When the chips are down, it’s wrong to give the rah-rah Knute Rockne speech. People want guidance, not rhetoric. They need to know what the plan of action is, and how it will be implemented. They want to be given responsibility to help solve the problem and the authority to act on it.
    A lot of managers find it hard to admit their fears to those who depend on their decisions. But I believe that if you level with your employees in hard times, they will trust you more when you say things are going well.”

    1. Hi Joe! Goodness! What a wonderful comment! Many many thanks for sharing it along! Lots of food for thought in there, for sure! Glad you mentioned Kevin’s blog post, which I think is this one (Not sure why the link did not work, but hope it’s the right one)… Agree with the sentiment on lacking the word in English for what would be considered an online facilitator, although in the larger sense of the concept I still think it pretty much covers it rather nicely. Looking into the concept of facilitating “something” to happen, where that “something” are conversations…

      Glad you mentioned those other references on the “power to let go” and embrace uncertainty, which I think permeates quite nicely with the whole feedback you shared above of embracing our strengths and weaknesses / limitations and let others help out accordingly. I think you are spot on with those annotations and surely glad you added them into this blog post!

      Fantastic! Thanks again for dropping by and for the superb commentary! Greatly appreciated!

    1. Doh! What was I thinking?!?! I guess at the time I put together the blog post my brain was thinking faster than my hands altogether! LOL!!

      Thanks, John! I have now amended the blog post and changed it to the correct name: the one and only, Claire Flanagan

      Thanks for the heads up and for dropping by!

  2. Those community leader skills are solid. And I agree, the last one is often the most difficult. At least, it’s been so in my digital travels. Methinks the trick is beginning with the end in mind. (How original, right?)

    Lately, I’ve been trying to think in terms of the ROI of community. Not the financial returns, because I’m not particularly interested in them to be quite honest, but the returns for the community members. If the community provides value/meaning for members, there will be more members participating in the community, which, as those of us who have spent a lot of time in such communities can attest, results in higher performing individuals.

    I’m thinking that translates into the financial ROI the bean counters are after. The trick is figuring out those meaningful metrics. I mean, there’s so much more to it than number of members/posts/replies/shares/etc..

    Also, I really enjoyed John’s comment. A successful musician once told me, “We are all amazing creatures – especially when we think we are.” Sooth.

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