The are three major keys to building community in your business:
1. Support: Helping your team members reach the goals and dreams they want to have.
2. Encouragement: Inspiring your team members to do the things they may be afraid to do.
3. Accountability: Providing feedback to your team members so they can become the person they need to be.
Notice that the first step is to help your team members reach their goals. This is the key that starts the right kind of relationship that can then move toward the right culture, creating a sense of belonging. Eventually it can lead to a true sense of community.
If you want to create a supportive environment in your company, you have to be the example. If you want to get support, you have to give support. I was walking among the crowd at one of my conferences teaching on this subject, and a first-time attendee, who did not know me very well, blurted out, “Don’t they have to earn my respect before I give them respect?” “No.” I responded. “Exactly the opposite. Show them that you respect them first, and they will be more likely to respect you.”
Community requires care. Good leaders care about others. If you don’t care about others, they won’t care about you. And if you care about someone, you’ll value him or her. If you value people, you’ll invest time, money, and resources supporting them. Support is the first key to establishing a sense of community in your organization.
The second key to building community in your business is encouragement. Encouragement is what inspires people to do the things they don’t feel like doing, the things they fear doing, and the things they don’t know they can do. Unfortunately, encouragement is pretty hard to come by these days. With all the terrible events we see on television, read about in our newspapers, and learn about on social media, it’s not surprising that so many of us feel discouraged, or that it affects both our personal and professional lives. We all need encouragement. We all need hope. As Zig Ziglar said, “Encouragement is the fuel on which hope runs.” And when we get that encouragement, we feel like a million bucks.
Finally, the third key to building community in your business is accountability. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the word accountable means “subject to giving an account: answerable.” In other words, it means being willing to accept responsibility for one’s own actions. Unfortunately, in today’s culture it seems that many people are unwilling to take responsibility for the results of their actions. Somehow, whenever anything goes wrong, it’s always someone else’s fault. Whether it’s corporate fraud, government scandals, or simply blaming someone else, it seems that people think they should be able to do whatever they want, and whenever and however they want to do it, regardless of how it affects others.