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Cover image for #ClubChat: What in your skillset as a community manager is often considered a "soft skill?"
The Community Club

#ClubChat: What in your skillset as a community manager is often considered a "soft skill?"

alex profile image Alex Angel ・1 min read

Question time

This week's question:

What in your skillset as a community manager is often considered a "soft skill" (or a "fixed" skill that's a part of your personality)? Is it really, or is it something you learned?

Discussion

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cartergee profile image
Carter Gibson

Influencing without authority. CMs have very little "formal authority" over a product. We're not Product Managers or Designers or Engineers. We need to be able to understand priorities on every side of the aisle in order get things done. If we're not able to do this (play this game?) we're going to be really frustrated.

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mac profile image
Mac

This is the best one in this thread, and the first time I've heard it positioned this way. Really awesome point Carter.

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louis profile image
Louis

I think relationship management is an important one. I'm curious whether anyone knows community managers who are not people persons/extroverts but rather introverts πŸ’­

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mac profile image
Mac

Hello, big introvert here. Many, if not most, of the community managers I've gotten to know closely in the past year would consider themselves introverts rather than extroverts.

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louis profile image
Louis

Ho that's awesome to hear! Was suspecting that we'd have different types of personalities but mostly introverts I didn't expect. Judging too quickly apparently

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alex profile image
Alex Angel Author

Another introvert over here! I may not like hanging out with huge groups of people IRL, but I sure do like facilitating connections and trying to make the internet a better place for people to gather.

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marthyessien profile image
MARTHA ESSIEN

Same here ❀️

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louis profile image
Louis

yep thinking about it twice these are different things!

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marthyessien profile image
MARTHA ESSIEN

I'm here πŸ˜‹ Not a people's people. Reason why I love being behind the desk and just do the online thing more.

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noeleflowers profile image
Noele Flowers

One I've been thinking about a lot is comfort on video or with public speaking. This isn't necessarily a skill all CMs need, but I think a lot of us in CM roles have to adapt to situations that vary from delivering workshops in our communities to creating short video content to hosting feedback calls with members.

I often hear hiring managers talking about this quality of being 'good on camera' as a 'sparkle' or an innate trait, but I know it's not that. I know because I can easily trace how I learned this skill throughout my life and my career! It started with comfort speaking or singing in front of others (I sang in choirs throughout my whole childhood), developed further when I was a public school teacher having to speak in front of groups of super judgmental teenagers all day, and then culminated in me getting the opportunity to practice cohosting webinars and ultimately hosting my own while at Teachable. This was definitely a skill I learned and honed over time, and I think others who have comfort on camera can probably trace similar arcs where they got a lot of chances to practice.

I think it's important to shift how we think about skills of CMs from fixed to growth orientedβ€”it draws attention to the value of individual's contributions when we acknowledge the time and effort that it takes to learn certain skills, and it also helps us get more concrete about how we can build and develop skills that might be lacking.

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ruben profile image
Ruben

I think :

  • conflict resolution
  • problem solving
  • adaptability and creativity

Where adaptability is in my opinion crucial dealing a lot with people and unexpected outcomes.

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alex profile image
Alex Angel Author

I'm not sure if this exactly fits the bill, but I'm rather unflappable in the grand scheme of things. I think this is a desirable quality in CMs since we deal with a lot of weird/bad/frustrating stuff. For me this was a learned skill that I started honing in my first community role, and have continued to work on it over the years.

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Andy McIlwain πŸ‡¨πŸ‡¦

Collaboration, or β€œjoining forces” as we call it. I try to build alliances with different teams by figuring out how the community program could support their goals. Defining that first makes it a lot easier to ask for help down the road. We can usually find some mutually-beneficial opportunities along the way. :)