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The Power of Community

One of the things that has characterised life in my lifetime is an increasing shift away from a physical community. Growing up in my early years, I lived in a cul de sac full of families where we all spent time with each other, in each other’s homes, and generally building a sense of community. This changed when I was 11 and we went to live in a street which was a main road in a larger town where community was much harder to establish. And so it has continued throughout my life as my work took me away from my physical home and I didn’t focus on getting to know my neighbours.

And yet, I’ve been lucky in that I’ve found community through other means – my work, my friendship groups, and my volunteer work within a literal Community. I’ve come to realise the significant importance of community as I have advanced in my life whilst also recognising that over the past 40 years in general it seems to have been on the decline.

Now I sense that is changing, as it needs to. Community is an essential part of the human condition – bringing belonging, safety, visibility, friendship, support and so on that comes from being alongside others in more than a purely transactional way. Indigenous tribes have modelled this for millennia.

As we all navigate our current world, finding our ‘community’ seems to be increasingly important as we work out how to ‘see’ each other and support each other in meaningful ways – whether that be pastoral support, activist support, or just plain company. Interestingly, community isn’t necessarily a word that is applied to the workplace, and yet here more than many other places community could be so powerful.

Leaders who set out to foster climates where community is valued, where people feel a sense of belonging and association are more likely to see stronger collaboration, relationship, and partnering within and across the work activities.

Building communities takes time of course but it is also an attitude and mindset. If we recognise and value the interdependence of life and move on from the need to succeed alone, then we also naturally invite others to be alongside us. To ‘commune’ is to build a strong foundation of interchange and relationship. Imagine how powerful that foundation would be in helping organisations to create the changes needed in our world for the greater good.

Lorraine Flower
Lorraine Flowerhttp://azzur.co.uk/
As a Corporate change agent, consultant, coach and mentor Lorraine founded azzur and is completely transparent about the spiritual principles on which it operates. Alongside her 18 years as azzur’s founder, Lorraine brings 20 years' service industry experience to bear through her senior leadership roles at British Airways (BA) and Great North Eastern Railway (GNER). It is Lorraine's belief in individual and organisational power for good that gives azzur its raison d'etre. azzur and Lorraine specifically has worked with clients across the business spectrum from financial services, to retail and transport to healthcare an in both the public and private sectors. azzur is focused on developing contemporary, spirited leadership capability, and organisations built on inspiring purpose, empowering cultures and a powerful vision and values. She is championing new models of leadership and organisational development founded on the principles of conscious leadership and writes extensively on these topics.She is a member of a number of global spiritual groups and communities serving the greater good of Humanity and the planet. She works and studies extensively in developing and exploring conscious leadership believing that business leaders are key players in transforming the well-being of the planet and humanity as a whole.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Lorraine — So good to see you on these pages!

    Couldn’t agree with you more about leaders needing to take the lead. When I coach clients, I often ask the provocative question: “What would your day look like if you spent 90% of your time focused on the people doing the work and only 10% on the work itself?” The looks I get back are so interesting?

    Most leaders, though, are not trained on people skills. They grow up in the company and get a reputation as someone who can get things done. So they get a promotion to the next level.

    With so much of our work migrating to teams, we’ve got to get a lot smarter about how we work with one another.

    • Lovely to get your thoughts Jeff – I hope all is well. I am still surprised about the number of people who make it to senior leadership without really understanding that their role has almost nothing to do with doing – it’s all to do with people, building teams, enabling, creating cultural environments and so on…this is one of the changes that has to come in these times…surely?

      • There is so much written on leadership — books and articles — so many opportunities for “leaders” to learn, so many coaches offering growth services, but we continue to note the same short-comings of most leaders. Will that change? Not until the focus changes, I think. Businesses here in the US are focused on short-term results. That keeps most focused on doing instead of being.

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