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BLOGThe Community Involvement Thought Leadership Test

by Randall CraigFiled in: Personal Development, Blog, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Skills Development, Thought LeadershipTagged as: ,

Why do some people get “tapped” on the shoulder to be involved in their communities as leaders, and others are seemingly passed over? And more specifically, why does community leadership matter for thought leaders? Why should you care?

The Community Involvement Thought Leadership Test

Benefits of community leadership include:

  • It implies a third-party endorsement — after all, someone must have vetted you for the role.
  • Others can observe you as someone in a position of authority and respect.
  • Your involvement will widen your network with completely different people.

It is incredibly powerful when people see you in a position of authority, AND you have an implicit third-party endorsement. It is easy for people to assume that what is true in your community involvement also applies in your area of expertise. And it is easy for those in your professional life to see your community involvement as a barometer of your character.

That is why this thought leadership test is different. Unlike the other nine tests, this one doesn’t speak to your actual expertise: it builds on your reputation, as evidenced by your performance in a volunteer role.


There are two ways to get involved in your community: (1) Someone taps you on the shoulder and asks you to get involved. Or (2) you put up your hand, and ask how you can get involved. This week, look for an organization that is personally meaningful, then put up your hand and get involved. Look for a role that will help you showcase your professional skills, while also allowing you to develop in other ways. It needs to be fun.

Community Involvement Postscript: Community involvement can mean leadership in a professional association, faith community, neighborhood ratepayers group, government commission, school PTA, kids’ sports league, or your own baseball team.

Thought Leadership Insight: What is true in the positive, is also true in the negative. If your “performance” as a community leader is not excellent, people will make the assumption that your performance in the business world is similarly lacking. Even though community involvement isn’t usually a paid role, because of its connection to your professional reputation, treating it as a job that you will do at the highest level is important.

Related Posts: Take the next Thought Leadership test: The Economic Thought Leadership Test,  Community Involvement — Personal Benefit

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