Whiteboard Wednesday is a biweekly segment that explores how the U of G community thinks about leadership. We go out, ask a question, and then photograph the wide range of answers you all come up with! We then create posts diving into some of the major themes that appear. This post will be exploring the question "Why are you a leader?"
Let’s talk about community. The Oxford Dictionary defines ‘community’ as follows:
- A group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.
- A feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.
- A group of interdependent organisms of different species growing or living together in a specified habitat.
This blog post is going to focus on definition 2, which portrays community as an emotional phenomenon, rather than a physical or biological one.
When we talk about community, we often associate it with the feeling of belonging. Belonging is a powerful thing; most of us are probably able to think of a time in which we did not feel as though we belonged. In these times we experience feelings of isolation, discomfort and self-doubt. Feelings like these are not conducive to creativity or advancement. In fact, they often make us shut down.
A sense of belonging, on the other hand, can make us feel comfortable, supported, and safe. It makes us feel strong. And when we feel strong and supported, we find the courage to make change and pursue our dreams. We can get creative and take risks without such a great fear of failing, because we know that if we do, someone will be there to help pick us back up. This is why building community is so important.
“I am a leader because… I love to bring people together”
If we look back at that second definition of community, we see that it is built from common ground. Community members may have vastly different backgrounds or experiences, but there is something present between individuals that has created a sense of togetherness.
Sometimes togetherness happens organically. Think of those moments when you have met someone that you have clicked with right away. Finding that kind of commonality right from the start is exciting and beautiful, but it is also rare, especially when we’re trying to create connections in a larger group. This is where it becomes important to have leaders who are committed to fostering togetherness. In order to build strong communities, ones that are dynamic and resilient, people who are willing to work towards finding and creating commonalities must step forward. These leaders create opportunities for community members to learn and grow side by side, while always celebrating the diversity of everyone involved. A mix of viewpoints and experiences allow for greater creative capacity, as well as more innovative solutions.
“I am a leader because… I value developing togetherness”
To all of the leaders who value developing togetherness, we thank you. You are the ones who transform the places that we live into the places where we belong. You make us feel welcomed and safe. You provide us with the spaces to form those meaningful connections without which life would be drab and lonely. Togetherness builders, we need you.
“Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.” Source: Pinterest