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.

 

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