Leadership Lessons of Web 2.0 – Secret #3: Be A Valuable Community Member

This is the third in a series of posts looking as how aspiring leaders can learn from Web 2.0 practices and theory.

On The Web: Take the example of two different types of bloggers.

Jim has a great looking blog with very compelling content.

Sandra has a basic template blog with relatively average content.

BUT, Sandra has a healthy stream of visitors to her blog every day, while Jim is quickly fading into obscurity.

Why does the mediocre blog win the race?  Because Sandra participates in online communities that are related to the subject matter of her blog.  She comments on other blogs, participates in forum discussions, and generously helps other bloggers where she can.  As a result, Sandra is seen as a valuable community member.  Other community members have gotten to know her and, as such, visit her site regularly.

On the flip side, Jim knows he’s got a great blog, but can’t be bothered with stooping to comment on other, inferior blogs.  He knows everything about his subject matter and adamantly believes that once people ‘find’ his blog, the crowds will come pouring in.

Unfortunately for Jim, they won’t.

As A Leader: You can’t just hire people and let them loose.  And you can’t force people to listen to you just because you’re the boss.  If Jim the blogger was a manager, his confidence and talent would lead him to automatically assume status as the ‘hub’ of the community.  While he may think he’s the hub, though, his team won’t.  That’s because, just like on the web, you have to earn loyalty.

And the way to earn it is to first become a valued and valuable member of your community.

  • So be generous.
  • Help out your team members when they need it.
  • Get to know them.
  • Support them when they’re having troubles and champion them when they succeed.
  • Teach them.
  • Coach them.
  • Support them.
  • Take an interest in their interests.

Once you become valued and relevant for your team, they will give you something far more valuable than the position of leader – they will give you the status and respect of a leader.

It’s not about you.  It’s about your team.

Related Posts:

Web 2.0 Leadership Secret #1: Give Up Control

Web 2.0 Leadership Secret #2: Engagement

Web 2.0 Leadership Secret #4: Permission To Fail

11 Replies to “Leadership Lessons of Web 2.0 – Secret #3: Be A Valuable Community Member”

  1. The tricky thing in my estimation in the case of Sandra is spending too much time ‘creating an audience’ and then not having the time or energy to generate your message. It’s a delicate mix, where you can get lost down a worm hole being a good web citizen.

  2. The tricky thing in my estimation in the case of Sandra is spending too much time ‘creating an audience’ and then not having the time or energy to generate your message. It’s a delicate mix, where you can get lost down a worm hole being a good web citizen.

  3. That’s a great point. Managing your time is a HUGE concern and balancing between content and community participation can be a challenge. As someone who does more ‘community building’ than most people I know online, I’m curious how you proportion your time and effort.

  4. That’s a great point. Managing your time is a HUGE concern and balancing between content and community participation can be a challenge. As someone who does more ‘community building’ than most people I know online, I’m curious how you proportion your time and effort.

  5. I definitely spend more time on the side of community building, as you know. And that’s because that is probably the easiest thing to maintain in short segments here and there. I find it very easy to be an active community member, all while doing 3 and 4 things at the same time.

    It’s also because the community is what I find the most value in online. Its not so much the content as it’s the group of like-minded individuals finding others with the same passions. As I feel in real life, I feel the people and activities with the most value are two-way interaction.

    Which is why I feel web 2.0 is less about creating content, and more about creating a meeting place. The successful meeting places are that way because the voice is the audience, not one person.

    And that is where the power of 2.0 lies.

  6. I definitely spend more time on the side of community building, as you know. And that’s because that is probably the easiest thing to maintain in short segments here and there. I find it very easy to be an active community member, all while doing 3 and 4 things at the same time.

    It’s also because the community is what I find the most value in online. Its not so much the content as it’s the group of like-minded individuals finding others with the same passions. As I feel in real life, I feel the people and activities with the most value are two-way interaction.

    Which is why I feel web 2.0 is less about creating content, and more about creating a meeting place. The successful meeting places are that way because the voice is the audience, not one person.

    And that is where the power of 2.0 lies.

  7. That is true. When you allow people to interact with what you are offering somewhere, blog, website or something else on the web, then people will visit and keep visiting.
    The fancy term 'Leader' is a bit too much. What you suppose to say is be a normal person like anyone else

  8. That is true. When you allow people to interact with what you are offering somewhere, blog, website or something else on the web, then people will visit and keep visiting.
    The fancy term 'Leader' is a bit too much. What you suppose to say is be a normal person like anyone else

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