We were electrified by two simple words in this interview: "community leader."
We've all felt how much more enjoyable and effective work can be when we're collaborating with people we have mutual trust, respect, and care for. By extension, Charlene Lee, head of product and design at Radar, points out, building effective teams means building community. And so, managers need to think of themselves as community leaders.
Why it matters
Charlene's perspective on management was shaped significantly by her time at Google, whose research has found that the relationships we have with colleagues aren't just a nice to have – they're a key foundation to effective teams. Google identified "psychological safety" as by far the most important dynamic for effective teams and creating "an inclusive team environment, showing concern for success and well-being" as one of the top 10 common behaviors of its best managers.
Thus, it's incumbent on good managers to build those connections – not just one-to-one with their direct reports, but among team members as well.
Putting it into action
Building community seems like a daunting task, but it can be done bit by bit. Charlene suggest starting with these three pillars:
Create space for community to get to know each other. Whether in small ways like icebreaker questions at the start of meetings or bigger ones like team activities, create opportunities for people to get to know each other personally.
Draw on your own experiences. Think back to when you felt included, psychologically safe, energized – times when you were excited to go to work and see your teammates every day. What made that experience so special? What can you do to bring that back into your own team, in your own authentic style?
Share your insights & experiences
How would you describe the communities you've been part of at work? What are ways you've successfully built and strengthened your team community? What aspects have been particularly challenging?