Today is Community Manager Appreciation Day. You may be familiar with my thoughts about this day of recognition. Those thoughts have not changed. I am excited the role of community manager and responsibilities of a community team are being recognized in organizations large and small.
This day makes me feel uncomfortable. I have never been great at giving myself a pat on the back, so when an entire community does so, it feels incredibly odd. I do not conduct my job in a silo. While I have had great accomplishments in my career, they did not happen because of me working alone. My genius is a recluse, but cannot take all of the credit! I guess, this is why this celebration does not seem to be a recognition of the entire team, but individual egos. And a community manager cannot have an ego or the career path will be short and rocky.
Today, I want to to give thanks to the talents who do not have a day of recognition, but who make my job and accomplishments possible.
Thank you to the legal/compliance/privacy teams. I understand it is your responsibility to protect the organization and employees. We may not always see eye-to-eye, but you have taught me to respect policies and guidelines as a positive force and not an obstacle.
Thank you to the HR teams. Together we have learned how and when it is appropriate to embrace employee communication. Having a smooth internal communications workflow results in improved external communications.
Thank you to the customer service teams. The front lines are not warm and fuzzy. No matter what the channel or time of day, we have to be ready to service the customer and help them feel heard. Not all issues can be solved, but they can be resolved. We do not have to reinvent the wheel, but understand what has worked across all channels of communication, adapt and embrace our own best practices.
I have seen how the hat metaphor of community management has evolved. The role of student and teacher have emerged as the primary responsibilities of a community manager and team. Sometimes we switch from one role to the other. At other times, we are both. We are the young Jedi Knight learning to trust our instincts and listen to our surroundings. We are the Master teachers educating without patronizing others in our community and organizations about how the culture is shifting.
There are more teams to thank. At one point or another we have been the teacher and the student. Let’s remember we don’t have to go down the path of change alone.