The era of growing alone is over!
Community leadership

What people need the most in the era of hyper-connectivity is community leadership. Community leaders are known to study and voluntarily share their knowledge with others. Let’s discuss this idea of community leadership, which fosters communication, collaboration, and the sharing of achievements with peers and consumers.

In the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and hyper-connectivity, what qualities are companies looking for when it comes to their top employees? What defines those who thrive in the competitive corporate jungle? The people who thrive in the corporate environment and are in high demand across various fields—allowing them to pick and choose from numerous opportunities—all have one thing in common. They all have the ability to proactively observe and flexibly adapt to the major trends in their respective industries. In addition, they never stop learning for their own personal growth and the growth of the community. Microsoft refers to this type of people as “community leaders,” and refers to the ability of community leaders to influence others by voluntarily sharing their knowledge and opinions as widely as possible as “community leadership.”

Who exactly are these community leaders?

Community leaders are individuals who go beyond learning for their own personal development by trying, in any way they can, to share what they’ve learned with others. They go the extra mile, sharing the things they’ve studied by blogging, creating YouTube videos, or forming communities where people studying the same things can gather together and participate in online or offline lectures. They work tirelessly to deliver useful information to as many people as possible through social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. But why this focus on community? Within a community—even in smaller, informal communities—community members can interact with one another and repeatedly practice new skills, finding their way to success through series of trials and errors. Knowledge becomes truly powerful when it is combined with practical experience. A prime example is Wikipedia. Wikipedia created world’s largest and most interesting encyclopedia by harnessing the collective efforts of online communities worldwide, in which tens of thousands of volunteers contribute and edit articles just for the joy of it.

Should I consider studying in a community?

Even in an ever-changing world—filled with the emergence of new technologies, industrial transformations, and robots and automation systems doing work that was once performed by humans—engaging in life-long learning and forging new networks gives you the ability and freedom to navigate the future and benefit from the convenience offered by innovative technologies. This is exactly why it is so important to enhance your abilities by participating in a community.

01 Teaching is empowering

One of the key benefits of studying within a community is being able to maximize your influence while learning and sharing with others. By teaching your knowledge or skills to others, you truly make the things you’ve learned your own. In order to share knowledge, you need to study and organize the contents related to your topic. Furthermore, the process of preparing and reviewing presentation materials and then giving a presentation requires you to dive deeper into the subject matter. After your presentation, you might have to answer unexpected questions from your audience. Through this process of giving and receiving feedback, you and your community will grow together.

02 New personal networks are created

The power of community-based studying lies in the unique personal networks that are forged within a community that can’t easily be formed anywhere else. Since communities are typically formed under a specific theme, they naturally attract people who share a common interest or passion. While some people may join a community out of pure interest in the topic being shared, many community members are professionals already working in related industries or are experts seeking to stay on top of recent technological trends. Since community members gather together for the purpose of discussing and studying common interests, often times communities sustain themselves for long periods of time. Even if you don’t have a particular goal or vision, engaging in community activities allows you to meet diverse people and gain experiences that will contribute to your own personal growth.

03 If there aren’t any communities you are interested in, create your own

Of all the many communities out there, if you are unable to find a community that aligns with your own interests, you can always create your own. In fact, there have been many cases where individuals became experts by forming their own community and gathering like-minded individuals to study together, with the founder of the community eventually becoming proficient in an area in which they initially lacked knowledge.

Step 1 > Set goals

The journey of community-based studying begins with you. It starts with your interests, determination, and goals. Community leaders possess a clear sense of purpose that originates from within themselves. When you study out of your own drive and determination, it creates a different feeling of achievement than when you are forced to study by someone else. Take a serious look at the goals you want to achieve or special interests you have. It could be a field that sparks your desire to learn, or you may think something like, “Coding skills are important for the future, so maybe I should learn about it.” Or you could be in a situation or job that makes you feel the need to enhance your knowledge in a specific area, or you may even have a desire to obtain a certification. When you develop an interest in a particular field, take your interest one step further and embrace the idea of being the first person to learn and then share with others. Setting meaningful goals increases your likelihood of creating a network that positively impacts your learning journey.

Step 2> Choose the topic you want to study

The field that you’re currently working in doesn’t really matter. The topic you choose should be something that ignites your passion for learning and keeps your curiosity alive. Secondly, you should select a theme that enhances your individuality, experiences, and existing knowledge. Look for areas where you can excel slightly more than others and start from there. For example, if you majored in economics, you could combine your economic knowledge with programming skills to develop an app for sharing economic insights with other people. At the end of the day, you must study to enhance your understanding of others. No matter how exceptional your skills and expertise are, you will not be able to achieve outstanding results if you don’t have a deep understanding of other people.

Step 3> Search for community study methods

Once you have decided upon your goals and study topics, you will need to find a community that suits your own unique circumstances and personality. If you’re an introvert or you have young children, it may be challenging to participate in offline group activities, but you can still post your knowledge and materials on a blog or Facebook. If you have the time and physical availability, you may want to engage more actively in a community by uploading YouTube videos, or organizing or attending café meetups, group activities, or study sessions. Unlike introverted activities, engaging in these types of activities will allow you to interact with other people, making it easier to develop wider networks. When searching for a community, it is important to identify relevant keywords and conduct online searches. Consider factors such as age, topics, and location to determine which platform best suits your needs. Additionally, seek out community leaders who are well versed in your areas of interest in order to help you find the right community.

Step 4> Build community leadership

James Heckman, a Nobel laureate in economics, once said that people with “soft skills,” or “who have good character,” have a higher chance of success than those who are simply “smart or academically gifted.” This same principle holds true in the community settings as well. Warm-hearted individuals are more likely to thrive because their opportunities to apply what they’ve learned are directly proportionate to the size of their network. In particular, virtuous goals attract good people with virtuous goals, just like a magnet. When you share what you have studied and learned with other members of a community, it generates a sense of pride and joy in giving, serving as powerful motivation for active learning. It’s also a good idea to organize community events, even on a small scale, and invite people from outside your community. By presenting your knowledge to a wider audience, in addition to your own community members, you will be able to build your leadership skills.

Step 5> Assess your progress and set new goals

When it comes to community activities, it is also necessary to adjust your pace. Holding on to the stubborn notion that certain tasks can only be handled by you or by the founding members of your community can dampen the enthusiasm of new members. Communities that fail to attract new members or people from younger generations can become stagnant or even disappear. When you have reached a high level of proficiency in your studies or when you’re setting a new goal, it is a good idea to take a step back and evaluate how far you’ve come and where you’re going. Within a community, you will learn how to live out your passion without being consumed by it, which in turn will make you better equipped to overcome challenging moments in your life.

By the Editorial Department