Hats off to those NOT a community manager

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.

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  • http://twitter.com/mattybme Matt Brown

    Thanks Lauren for the the reminder of the team effort Community is! We would not be successful if it wasn’t for all the folks that contribute to the effort of Community.

    • http://twitter.com/vargasl Lauren Vargas

      Let’s give them a round of applause and thank them (continuously) for forging this path with us.

  • http://www.dayngrzone.com/ Dayngr

    THIS! … And definitely to the managers and directors and c-suite execs who actually get that it takes a team of people working together to really accomplish great things in this space. Hats off to those who value all that it takes to go into building a great community and investing in their employees so they can continue to manage their brands effectively, intelligently and efficiently with personality and grace.  Those are the folks to celebrate!

    • http://twitter.com/vargasl Lauren Vargas

      Definitely! We need to thank our supporters. They are shouldering the risk alongside us.

  • http://twitter.com/sukhjit sukhjit

    Wonderful reminder that much of the strength of a great community manager comes from their relationships not just with the community but internally. You can’t do the job without the support of people around your company. It’s a shift, especially for large companies. It may seem slow, at least slower than the pace of technology and customer empowerment. But it is happening and it’s people like you who are the forefront. Thank you for sharing this point of view. 

    • http://twitter.com/vargasl Lauren Vargas

      So true. Internal communications is key or you may be building a deck of cards.

  • http://www.CarissaO.com/ CarissaO

    Community management is often a thankless job, and I agree it’s as important (if not more so) to recognize the often unseen efforts of the many players who have a role on the back-end of the policies, processes and education that lay the foundation for successful community. This day gives us a good excuse to do it now, but I’m using it to remind myself of the value of those relationships we have–and continue to build–throughout the year. Thanks for the nudge.

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