You’ve no doubt heard about the importance of a professional network since early in your career; you know that a professional network contributes to your professional development. However, you may not have considered the notion of building a community among your team or colleagues. And since it's Admin Month, now is a great time to explore it.
We use networks to establish and extend contacts, develop professional relationships, and as resources for professional effectiveness and growth. Network relationships are typically not close, and not all members are networked together. For example, in your professional network, the members are connected to you but not necessarily to one another. Your network does not share a sense of common identity.
Communities are different. Unlike networks, communities bring with them membership (a sense of belonging,) purpose, relationships and engagement. Communities inspire their members in ways that promote self-awareness and group collaborative action. Communities encourage members to express their beliefs and values, to actively contribute and to build lasting relationships with others. Members feel a sense of common identity and belonging. They share a vision for the future. Members of a community also hold one another accountable for effort and performance.
A professional community is often called a “community of practice.” A community of practice refers to a group with a shared identity that actively enhances and protects a domain of knowledge — a professional community of people who feel responsible for collaborating toward a shared purpose that is more important than their individual needs.
You could probably identify members of your professional network easily. However, as administrative professionals and executive assistants, have we gone beyond networking to create, either locally or globally, an admin community? Is an admin community possible, and, if so, what would our purpose be? If the idea of a community appeals to you…if you are inspired to mobilize a group to become a community, cultivating these 10 traits will build a sense of community for the admins and assistants you hope to bring together.
10 Traits that Build and Sustain Community
Effective community leaders lead by example. They stretch people by communicating a higher vision. They keep everyone informed about measurable results that have been achieved with collective action. They push the responsibility for achievement firmly onto the shoulders of others – and give others all the credit. They seek to develop every member’s capacity to lead.
This year’s Administrative Professionals Conference and EA Ignite are packed with opportunities to network, learn about leadership, and interact in like-minded groups. It’s a great way to get started on community building!
Welcome to the ASAP Circle, a community platform for peer-to-peer conversation on trending topics, professional challenges, and shared experiences. We even have designated spaces for weekly Tuesday Coffee Breaks.