My friend Helen is looking for community.

One evening, she and I discussed the difference between having connected relationships with people and experiencing community. We agreed people want more than just a few close relationships; people are  hungry for true community. Though you can find community many places — at work, at school, in your neighborhood, through an online network, at your church or other local organization — it’s not automatic that where people gather, there will be community. Leaders who want to create community do so with a sense of purpose and intentionality.

To create community, leaders foster shared relationships. People feel part of a community when they are well connected in relationships. I know you, but I also know the people you know. And they know each other. To foster shared relationships, leaders facilitate this interconnectedness. The more people are interconnected, the more likely they are to have a sense of community.

To create community, leaders initiate shared experiences. When people participate in activities together, collaborating as a whole or working in small groups, relationships have a chance to grow. Even after the activity is over, shared memories with others can contribute to a sense of community.

To create community, leaders cultivate shared goals and purpose. As people rally around a shared cause or goal, a sense of community builds. People feel emboldened by others who are working toward the same purpose.

To create community, leaders celebrate shared achievement. People enjoy being a part of something bigger than themselves, knowing that their contribution makes a difference. Leaders who recognize a groups’ effort build community.

As a leader, how are you creating community in your organization?

This was originally posted at Mountain State University LeaderTalk and is re-posted with permission.