How Virtual Communities of Practice Engage Leaders to Work Together
A year ago, could you have imagined that you’d be doing so much business virtually? Even very camera shy women are learning how to use online platforms for communicating with clients, business associates, friends and family. Perhaps this is a blessing in disguise. After all, if you’ve been reluctant to use video in your business, the pandemic is forcing you out of your comfort zone.
During your virtual meetings do you notice others getting distracted, or worse, disappearing into the background? How can you keep Zoom meetings on point instead of drifting aimlessly? How do you keep your team motivated virtually? That’s where bringing virtual Communities of Practice can enhance engagement and thereby your possibilities for success!
What are Virtual Communities of Practice?
Here at Newave Leaders, we are on a mission to build a better life, business and world through community. Did you realize there’s actually a term that embodies the ability to lead a committed group toward a common goal, by fully utilizing the inherent talents, skills and strengths of each individual member of the team? It’s known as building a Community of Practice (CoP).
Louise in particular has experience with various Communities of Practice, and she’s seen how they can tap into the tremendous energy, the synergy, where the sum of the group accomplishes more together than one person alone could ever do. The good news is CoPs aren’t limited to in-person interactions. The principles of Communities of Practice are proving to be very useful in the virtual space to help all attendees learn the most, be stretched the most and become the best versions of themselves.
7 Reasons Why Virtual Communities of Practice Work So Well.
When you’re in a Community of Practice…
- You’re with a group of like-minded individuals who are committed to learning to grow as leaders. This fosters trust in each other and space to hold each other accountable.
- Your group works together to co-construct a beneficial set of norms for the Community of Practice. By keeping a continual dialogue going about these norms, you ensure each voice is heard in the shared behaviors for the group.
- You’re reminded that you need each other in order to grow, develop, achieve, and solve the complex problems you’re facing.
- It erases fear and the need to “pretend.” Vulnerability is welcomed and honored. Honest and open communication within your community greatly increases your ability to accomplish what you set out to accomplish.
- It sparks greater creativity. People are not constrained by defined roles or titles; they can freely explore ideas to generate the best possible solutions and innovations. Conversations tend to be nonlinear, as you give each other permission to explore out-of-the-box solutions.
- You’re helped to grow as an embodied leader. You can safely observe, without judgment, your context to make sense of your story — understanding where you come from, what you believe, and how your emotions are showing up in your body.
- The environment enables you to “be” together, not just “do” together. In an increasingly disconnected world, you’ll explore thoroughly what it means to be connected and interdependent.
To help your virtual Communities of Practice succeed, here are 3 principles to keep in mind…
1. Engage the emotions. Curb wandering attention and distractions by helping everyone “feel” the problem or opportunity. Personalize it with statistics, anecdotes, or analogies that illustrate the situation.
2. Engender responsibility. Counter passively hiding in the background with breakout groups and assignments with deadlines. Then regroup for further discussion based on the progress made.
3. Involve everyone. Make sure everyone knows the agenda and how to prepare to make meaningful contributions in each discussion. Lead by giving everyone ample opportunities to speak — perhaps switching out speakers every 5 minutes or so.
We find that we’re more genuine, more passionate, and more understanding of the viewpoints of others’ when we’re part of a Community of Practice. If you would like to get a feel of how this works and learn skills you can bring to your virtual communities, we invite you to join our community of like-minded women who are determined to be the best and lead the best, through these chaotic times. The Great Circle Community is held regularly and we’re enjoying a deep discussion of what’s holding us back and discovering powerful solutions to move us forward.
Please join us for our next call. Together we can do more.