12 Tips for Being a Good Community Leader

Qualities of a Good Leader

Regardless of your style or skills, there are some ingredients that can contribute significantly to effective leadership:

  1. Be inclusive: It’s important to include all of your neighbors, including
    • Residents from all economic, religious, ethnic background
    • Other “neighbors” like faith communities, schools, and businesses who play important roles in the neighborhood and have valuable leadership skills, resources, and networks of contacts to offer.
  1. Cultivate networks of relationships: Relationships do not exist in a vacuum. One person is connected through relationship to many others. Cultivating a relationship with that person, therefore, is like connecting with the entire “network” of relationships they have already developed. Cultivating networks of relationships, then, can be about building relationships with others who have specific expertise that might also benefit your neighborhood.
  1. Delegate: Share responsibility (either through forming committees or asking individuals to take responsibility) for the major neighborhood functions, including
    • Meetings (logistics, agendas, minutes
    • Finances, communication (phone calls, newsletter, flyers, etc.
    • Point of contact (both within the neighborhood and with the City, County, the LPD, and other important bodies
    • social gatherings
    • neighborhood project
    • other activities.
  1. Assist others to develop their leadership skills: Help people discover skills in service to the neighborhood’s needs—cultivate the next generation of leadership. One good way of assisting others to develop their leadership skills is to release control over how others approach the tasks they’ve volunteered for. That is, avoid micromanaging!
  1. Communicate, particularly with those who don’t attend meetings and events. Be sure to share information both about neighborhood activities and other events/activities of interest. Useful skills include dialogue (as opposed to debate), listening (as opposed to lecturing), and transparency (as opposed to hoarding information and/or being secretive).
  1. Provide a vision that will keep people engaged. Remind people of the big picture and long- term goals. Always have a vision-driven purpose for having a meeting.
  1. Know your and your neighborhood’s assets and limits. Build on your strengths and don’t exceed your limitations.
  1. Be a learner. Acknowledge both your successes and your mistakes and use them all as ways to improve your leadership skills.
  1. Appreciate and celebrate: Thank people for the work they do and celebrate your neighborhood achievements.
  1. Motivate yourself and others: When times are tough or slow you have to be able to motivate yourself and others to push through.
  1. Relate to others: Leaders have to present themselves in a way people can relate to and be considerate of others. This means not engaging in gossip and respecting other people’s privacy.
  1. Collaborate: Work with other neighborhood groups and community leaders on tasks and issues in order to get the most information and create strong neighborhood connections.



Spring Event Reminders

Happy Monday, Neighbors!

The Neighborhood Resource Team hopes you all got outside and enjoyed the beautiful weather we had this past Friday, and that you’re gearing up for the exciting months ahead.

We hope you can join us for the following events happening this Spring:

April Events:

April 5th: Walking Wednesday, 1pm, Marscot Park

Please contact Erika Campbell (Erika.Campbell@lansingmi.gov) to schedule your own Walking Wednesday

April 18th: Four Corners Housing Summit, 6:30pm-8:30pm, Mount Hope STEAM School

May Events:

May 20th: Neighborhoods in Bloom

Please contact Andi Crawford (Andi.Crawford@lansingmi.gov) to apply today

May 24th: Walking Wednesday, 6:00pm, Westside Neighborhood Association

May 30th: LOVE Lansing Celebration

Information on registration can be found on the event’s Facebook page here. Any other questions about LOVE Lansing can be directed to Clara Martinez (Clara.Martinez@lansingmi.gov)

As always, thank you for being great community members, and happy neighboring!

– The Neighborhood Resource Team

Mapping Tools for Your Organization

GIS stands for Geographic Information Systems, which are tools that are used to express information onto maps. GIS maps can be used by organizations to more clearly explain neighborhood conditions and problems, or can just be used to show people where they live. The City is available to help organization with their GIS needs.

Uses for Neighborhood Organization

Neighborhood Maps: A simple map showing where the boundaries of the neighborhood you serve is great to have on hand, and can help show residents which neighborhood they live in. They can also show information like where block captains or members of your group reside.

Parcel Maps: A parcel map is used to show where property lines lie in an area, and can be useful for development projects or property disputes.

Land Use Map: A land use map shows the function of each property, and can show zoning and parks/waterways.

Data Map: Demographic maps can show all kinds of data, including, but not limited to:

  • Which houses are red tagged
  • Where the flood plain or floodway lies
  • Where federally designated CDBG designated areas are
  • Assessed housing values
  • Crime statistics

Create a Map

For more information on how to have a map created, or how to create and collect data, please contact Scott Thompson at Lansing’s Neighborhood Resource Team, at scott.thompson@lansingmi.gov, or 517-483-4075.

Available Resources

Here are some links to current maps that the City has available:

This Week in Community Engagement

It’s the start of a new week, with new opportunities to get out into the community, be a great neighbor, and engage with others.

From the City of Lansing, we have one event this week: LiNCS! These meetings (which stand for Leaders in Neighborhood + Community Service) are a great opportunity to talk to others who lead their neighborhoods, to talk to the Neighborhood Resource Team directly, and to exchange ideas about how to best lead your neighborhood toward success.

The topic of this week’s meeting is upcoming summer events and opportunities.

LiNCS Meetings are held once a month at the Neighborhood Empowerment Center (600 West Maple).

They are held on Thursday (3/23) at 6:00pm, and Friday (3/24) at both 8:00am and 12 noon.

We are excited to share events with you, and would love to hear from you about what’s going on in your community.

Comment below any events you’d like to share with your Lansing neighbors.

Info and Tips For Avoiding Code Violations

No one likes to hear that they have a code violation. That being said, Lansing’s Code Enforcement department exists to ensure that the homes are safe and healthy to live in, and that the property values of a neighborhood are protected. So make sure you and your neighbors’ properties are up to code with some of these steps:

  • Check out the Code Enforcement website. Here, you can find information on how to file a complaint, understand code violations, learn who your code enforcement officer is, and learn what steps to take to resolve code issues.
  • Code Enforcement officials are happy to come to your neighborhood and community meetings to provide information and answer questions on housing and enforcement. If you would like someone to come to your meeting, call the number listed below.
  • Learn exactly what Code Enforcement Officers are looking for by watching CEO Walter Allen on the job in this video.

For any specific questions, contact the Code Enforcement Office at 517-483-4361 or codecom@lansingmi.gov.

Thanks for continuing to make Lansing a great place to live!


A Snow Reminder

While we’re getting closer and closer to Spring-time, snow is still a coming down here in Lansing!

Here are some friendly reminders about how to be a good neighbor and keep your neighborhood safe during snowy days.

  1. Whether you rent or own, snow and ice must be removed from sidewalks within 24 hours after a snowfall
  2. Keep your sidewalk clear
  3. Ask your neighbors if they need help shoveling their sidewalk
  4. Distribute salt around the neighborhood
  5. Keep your car off the street for plows to get through
  6. Organize a group to help others shovel or salt
  7. Lend your shovel to a neighbor
  8. Clear space on the curb for your garbage cans
  9. Make sure fire hydrants are clear

From all of us here at the Neighborhood Resource Team, we hope you have a safe, warm week! Happy Neighboring!

March is Here! Time to Think Ahead!

As spring and summer head towards us, it’s time to start thinking about what you will do to engage with the community and with the City during the warm season.

Here are a few reminders about upcoming City of Lansing Events:

Neighborhoods in Bloom (May 20th)

Neighborhoods in Bloom is an excellent way to gather your neighbors for a beautification project in your community. The City of Lansing will provide flowers for planting in your neighborhoods, which must be planted in a public area, such as a sidewalk or road divider.

Applications will be available starting March 23rd.

LOVE Lansing Celebration (May 30th):

This is a FREE celebration of neighbors, neighborhoods, and local organizations held at the Lansing Center. Come out and celebrate all the excellent work you’ve done, and that you will continue to do.

Registration will be available March 23rd, and you must register in advance. In the meantime, you can find additional information here.

Walking Wednesday- Schedule Today!

Walking Wednesdays will be held throughout the summer as a way to display your neighborhood, connect with City of Lansing staff, and address issues that need City attention. Please contact Erika Campbell ECampbell@lansingmi.gov to schedule today.

One more thing….

In addition to these City-sponsored events, now is a great time to consider what kinds of events your neighborhood organization will hold or take part in this year. If you’re a leader, assemble your community organization to begin these talks, and if you’re a community member, reach out to your neighborhood organization to offer your ideas, volunteer, or give other support to the organization.

Feel free to reach out to the Neighborhood Resource Team to assist in planning, idea generation, or general support. Take a look at the City of Lansing’s Neighborhood Handbook (found on the City website) for event ideas and logistical reminders.

Happy Planning!