You may be an accountant. Perhaps you are in sales. You might be a manager, a CEO, a clerk, a project manager, a pastor, a technician, a counselor, or any one of thousands of other options. Whatever your occupation, your primary job description tells an incomplete story.
What if you viewed community building as a critical component of your vocation? What if you considered creating a healthy, thriving community in your workplace as much a part of your job as any other action item on your list of responsibilities?
Last fall, this blog featured a series on building community in your team. Community can be a powerful accelerant for team performance and a key component of fostering fulfillment in team members. Today, let’s revisit the important role of community in teams, and challenge ourselves to think differently about our roles as community builders.
That which is urgent often rules the day. Orders need to be processed, customers have to be served, and deadlines must be met. Performance is evaluated based on results and the best way to get results, so we think, is to put our noses down and get to work. Seemingly extra-curricular activities like building community with co-workers get pushed aside as irrelevant, unnecessary, or overly time consuming in the midst of all that must be accomplished.
We need a shift in focus. Building community is not an extra-curricular endeavor. Forging a workplace culture that values authentic relationships, sacrificial service, and celebrating with one another is not peripheral or secondary; it is critical to building a strong and healthy team that can achieve sustained results in a fulfilling way. In 2017, Gallup’s annual “State of the American Workplace” report revealed that only 4 in 10 respondents strongly agree that anyone at work genuinely cares about them as a person. That is a sad finding to which we should exclaim, “It doesn’t have to be that way!”
You have the power to build community in your team. Too often it is believed that those at the top of the organizational chart are the only ones with the power to affect culture or create community. While senior leaders play a critical role here, they are by no means the only player. Your efforts toward creating community are powerful when you simply purpose to get to know others and let them get to know you. Choose to believe that an environment where people serve each other is more desirable than a “zero sum” game where everyone competes for the biggest piece of pie. Make a decision to work toward something more. Then, start with the person at the desk next to you.
You may ask, “But how?” Over the next two weeks, review our series on Creating Community, beginning with the introduction found here . Then, check back in two weeks for a practical look at several steps you can take to begin the process of building community in your team. It’s worth it!
By Rusty Chadwick