This post was originally posted on Terri Klass’ leadership consulting blog

Whether we work on large teams, rotate between different groups, oversee our own smaller businesses or volunteer our services, we all have a need to belong. People feel valued when those they connect with, provide support and encouragement. Being part of something bigger than ourselves is very empowering and helps us grow. That is why community is so important to leaders as it instills a sense of direction and worth.

What is community?

 A basic definition might be: a feeling of camaraderie with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.

That sounds pretty impressive and inviting. What comes to mind when you think of camaraderie? Maybe friendship, meaningful relationships, looking out for one another or even jumping in and helping to meet a deadline? Imagine leading in an environment where people are able to achieve extraordinary goals while cultivating genuine relationships. It really isn’t so far-fetched. It just takes leadership and commitment to want an authentic community.

Five ways leaders can build communities to surpass their goals:

 1. Embrace the Importance of Community
It doesn’t make a difference where we are leading from, it just matters that we believe in the concept of community. We could lead a team or be a team member as both can promote community. Even if we are solo entrepreneurs, we can reach out to like-minded business owners to create a community.

The necessary step is that we want create an environment where camaraderie steers the goals.

2. See Who is in the Community
For a community to be high performing, a diverse group of talent is needed.

  • Are all areas of expertise represented?
  • Is the community supportive of each other’s differences?
  • Do people feel their contributions are being heard?
  • If we are sole entrepreneurs and want to collaborate, do we need to reach out to people with different perspectives?
  • Do we really know the gifts and strengths of the people in our community?
  • Do we have an understanding of the different work styles in our community?

3. Be Open and Share
Comrades trust one another and are able to form a community of transparency. When we are trustworthy and we trust those we connect with, magic can happen. Ideas are forthcoming. Innovation soars. Goals are exceeded. Remember the old adage- 1+1=3. The sum is greater than the individual parts.

 When leaders build community, they are able to surpass their goals.
4. Praise More Than Criticize
Leaders who get in the habit of recognizing people’s accomplishments will empower others to want to be active in a community. Whether we send shout outs to co-workers, collaborators or people we learn from, showing appreciation is powerful. On the other hand, being overly critical or negative will derail camaraderie. So keep honest feedback coming, while identifying the important contributions of each person in the community.
When leaders recognize the contributions of others, they build community.
5. Help Community Grow
Camaraderie leads to high performance and that’s how our communities thrive. Once supportive and trusting relationships form, each of us can lead by drawing out the best in others and putting our strongest work out there. With our talents being leveraged to produce exceptional outcomes, our communities are strong and successful.