As human beings, we crave a sense of belonging. We want to feel
accepted, supported, and valued for who we are. And this is where the
power of community comes into play.
The Benefits of Community
Joining a community, whether it’s a local meetup group, an online forum,
or a professional network, can have a positive impact on your personal
and professional life. Here are just a few of the benefits:
- Sense of belonging: Being part of a community can give you a sense of connection and belonging, which can help reduce stress and improve overall well-being.
- Bonded values, goals, and experiences: When you join a community, you’re joining a group of people who share common interests, values, and goals. This can create a sense of camaraderie and support that can help you achieve your own goals.
- Acceptance without judgment: A good community is one where you can be yourself without fear of judgment or rejection. This can help you build confidence and self-esteem, which can translate into other areas of your life.
- Opportunities for personal and professional growth: In a community, you can learn from others, gain exposure to different perspectives and ideas, and enhance your creativity and innovation through collaboration.
- Increased accountability and motivation: Being part of a community can help you stay motivated and accountable, whether it’s for personal or professional goals.
- A stronger network for future opportunities: Through your participation in a community, you can build a network of like-minded individuals who can support you in your career and personal life.
- A sense of purpose and impact through contributing to a greater cause: Many communities are centered around a shared mission or cause, giving you a sense of purpose and impact beyond yourself.
So, what exactly is a community?
In my view, a community is a group of people who are bounded by a common set of interests, ideals, values, or goals. By definition, a community is a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.
One of my favorite ways to get involved in a community is through local technology user groups like HashiCorp User Groups or RedHat User Groups. I love the sharing of technology and passion, the networking opportunities, and the theme that a rising tide raises all ships. And I love seeing people who are passionate enough to stand in front of a group of peers and present, even if they are shy introverts that would rather be anywhere else. It’s inspiring to see people push themselves outside of their comfort zone.
But why is community so important, especially in today’s fast-moving and uncertain environment? While it’s true that the world of technology is constantly changing, uncertainty is not a new concept. We’ve seen tech bubbles come and go, like the dot-com bubble of the early 2000s. But despite the ups and downs, one thing remains constant: the power of community.
As leaders, we have a responsibility to encourage a sense of community amongst our teams. By doing so, we can reap the same set of benefits that we find in external communities, such as a sense of belonging, reduced stress, and acceptance without judgment. This can be challenging in today’s world, where many tech companies are moving towards fully remote or hybrid models, and even confident teams may be feeling the effects of uncertainty and stress.
However, there are ways to foster a sense of community within our teams. We can create opportunities for teams to converge as one and encourage participation, recognizing those who display core characteristics to incentivize others to model that behavior.
Example of fostering community: Bimonthly Tech Show and Tell
One effective way to build community is by creating regular opportunities for team members to share their work and ideas. For example, a bimonthly tech show and tell within our company has been very successful. The team can showcase work they are doing for customers and get feedback, and the entire company is welcome to join. This can be a great way to build camaraderie, as well as break down silos and encourage cross-functional collaboration.
Adapting for non-technical team members
This approach can also be adapted to non-technical team members, helping to breakdown what our services are all about to a wider audience. By encouraging participation from all team members, we can foster a greater understanding of the business and encourage more appreciation for the work being done by all team members.
By encouraging a sense of community amongst our teams, we can help reduce stress and build a more positive, productive work environment. As we continue to navigate the uncertainty of today’s tech industry, this can be a powerful tool for success. And beyond our internal teams, we can also encourage participation in external communities, whether that be through local meetups or online groups. Together, we can all benefit from the power of community.
In conclusion, the benefits of community are undeniable, from a sense of belonging and reduced stress to opportunities for personal and professional growth and increased accountability and motivation. As leaders, we have a responsibility to encourage a sense of community amongst our teams, to foster an environment of collaboration and support that ultimately benefits us all. So, I encourage you to seek out a community that aligns with your values and interests, whether it’s a
local meetup or an online forum, and experience the power of community for yourself.