'S' is for Sincerity · A Philosophy of the Moment

What does it mean to have ‘community’?

The word came up, ‘community.’ In handfuls of conversations, lately online and offline.

What does it mean, though? I am remembering the conversation party that I had hosted in Seattle at Kornerhaus, ‘Gather: What does it mean to have community?’ It was the era of blogging way more than I do now, of inviting people to come around and have a conversation with me and us, whoever else was there. Open and relaxed and inclusive.

Things have changed now and I just talk to people inS P A C E , which is a community that feels really comfortable to me because it is known, and has a history. I read something today that reminded me of why ‘community’ means something to me, personally, especially having been outside of the country where I was born for almost a decade now. It is weird not to have the old traditions, but it is welcoming, too, to have the freedom from having to feel obligated to enjoy them.

What is community, anyway, though? What is it in 2023?

According to Stanford Social Innovation Review, at this article, ‘Adding precision to our understanding of community can help funders and evaluators identify, understand, and strengthen the communities they work with. There has been a great deal of research in the social sciences about what a human community is.

Some snippets of the article:

‘Community is not a place, a building, or an organization; nor is it an exchange of information over the Internet. Community is both a feeling and a set of relationships among people. People form and maintain communities to meet common needs.

‘Members of a community have a sense of trust, belonging, safety, and caring for each other.

‘They have an individual and collective sense that they can, as part of that community, influence their environments and each other. That treasured feeling of community comes from shared experiences and a sense of—not necessarily the actual experience of—shared history. As a result, people know who is and isn’t part of their community. This feeling is fundamental to human existence.

‘Neighborhoods, companies, schools, and places of faith are context and environments for these communities, but they are not communities themselves… Most of us participate in multiple communities within a given day. The residential neighborhood remains especially important for single mothers, families living in poverty, and the elderly because their sense of community and relationships to people living near them are the basis for the support they need. But for many, community lies beyond. Technology and transportation have made community possible in ways that were unimaginable just a few decades ago.’

S P A C EWe can talk about it in one of the next online conversations. To join S P A C E conversations, see information at the crowdfunding page: http://chuffed.org/project/spacethezine 

Found in the Field · Teambuilding through Reflective Practice

Let’s talk about labels

Lorraine Aguilar, in a short video about how to stop yourself from labeling people makes a good point: leaders can pay attention to the way they are thinking about other people, and if they are labeling them, recognize that this may be one of the reasons that there are even problems. We are to become more aware of ourselves if we want to be effective in leadership, and if we want that, we have to be clear about what kind of behaviors we are bringing to the workplace and how these behaviors, conscious or not, are affecting those around us. It’s responsible to become aware of ourselves.

And see how labeling, for example, is one bad behavior that could be contributing to real problem(s).

‘Has anyone ever labeled you in a way that you didn’t appreciate? That’s like putting you in a box. People are making judgements. [Judgements] don’t feel good, and they also hold us back, from having an effective team, being an effective leader, and having an effective organization.’

Aguilar continues. Instead of saying, ‘This is a difficult person,’ you can say, ‘I have difficulty with this person.’ This way there’s less blame, and, ‘an organization with less blame is always a better organization.’

I like this. It sure breaks things down, clearly. If you can accept there are wide range of things going on at any given tie in someone else, then you can stop yourself from blanket-labeling them as X or Y.

Source: How Labeling People Negatively Affects Your Ability to Lead


Questions for discussion

In the post-covid work world, Design Kompany takes the stance that more openness, compassion, empathy, and self-awareness especially will be valued by both employers and employees. More caring, safe spaces, for people to be who they really are, without the fear or being judged or blamed, will make people happier. And want to work there. If not, there’s WFH. I’ve been WFH since 2009, personally, but that’s just me. What do you think?

What is going on for you, at work, regarding labeling and the tolerance of it? Have you found it difficult to get past this issue or is your workplace one that feels open, and safe?