During a recent hotel stay at the wonderful Hotel Zaza in Dallas, I noticed two quotes written on the wall of my room. Both struck me as being particularly relevant to explaining the mindset a successful community manager has to own in order to do their job.
The test of a first rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function. One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless and yet be determined to make them otherwise.
– F. Scott Fitzgerald
I’ve talked about how the Community Manager role is the “loneliest job in business” – it’s a job caught between customers and colleagues, where both expect that you’re on “the other side”. But the truth is, great community managers are great because they don’t choose a side, they understand, advocate, explain, and support both.
A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.
– Antoine de Saint Exupery
A good Community Manager supports the activities a group of fans/customers are already doing. A great Community Manager has an ability to look at a situation and see below the surface. They find the people who are true leaders, not just talkers. They offer support that is more or different from what is being asked of them because it’s what matters. They constantly look at groups and social engagements and people who, to the execs on the 24th floor just look like “unwashed masses” and see something revolutionary.
Viva la Community Managers!