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Fostering Supportive Leadership in Times of Crisis: Insights for Online Communities

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In times of global crises, effective leadership plays a pivotal role in shaping the emotional and operational well-being of online communities. Jon Haber, president of Cascade Strategy, emphasizes that leaders' words are not mere rhetoric; they can either cultivate anxiety or nurture a culture of support within their communities. Here are insights that can be applied to online community management:

Leaders' Words as Actions

Leaders must recognize that their words hold the power to influence the emotional state of community members. In the face of distressing news events, leaders should reach out to community members individually. This personal touch allows leaders to ask if there's anything they can do to provide support. Beyond expressing concern, this approach can uncover unexpected connections and foster a supportive community culture.

Creating Space for Conversation

During community meetings or interactions, leaders should create a safe space for open dialogue. Acknowledging the impact of current events allows community members to address their concerns and feelings, contributing to a sense of collective understanding. However, it's essential not to compel individuals to speak; the aim is to offer compassion and support.

Empowering Community Action

Leaders can empower community members by providing opportunities for action. Researching ways to align support efforts with the community's values is crucial. Additionally, leaders can supply credible sources for community members to engage with, enabling them to contribute positively during a crisis.

Proactive Culture of Openness

Geopolitical challenges are a reality, and they can impact online communities. Leaders and community managers can proactively acknowledge the potential effects on their teams. Establishing a culture of openness and discussion before a crisis arises prepares the community for navigating challenging times.

A Foundation of Support

In conclusion, leaders can build a strong foundation of support within online communities by addressing distressing events with compassion, offering space for conversation, and enabling community members to take meaningful action. By following the principles of "doing what's necessary, then what's possible, and suddenly doing the impossible," leaders can create resilient communities capable of weathering the storm.

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