Understanding your possible career path is vital in any area, but especially in a fast-growing, young industry like the community. It's critical.
Whether you're searching for a new community job, want to specialize, advance your career, or even hire, understanding the following steps may be quite beneficial.
Usually, there are two community paths to consider:
The community domain, like other domain, recognises the need for a variety of ways to learn and upskill, regardless of whether or not you want to manage other people.
In practise (especially as this sector matures in the community), these routes are frequently combined - you may be largely an Individual contributor, but oversee a team of members.
Still, like with any job, striving for leadership typically requires shifting your attention away from your primary expertise and into team management.
You may develop in a few different aspects as you grow:
Individual contributors can advance in specialisation or just in seniority.
Typical specialities include:
More specific to use-case specialisations include:
Growth while working Solo - While this changes depending on the size and resources of the organisation, the method shown below is a solid starting point.
If this is the case, be clear with your boss or manager that you want to expand your abilities, expertise, or responsibility but do not want to become a people manager. Even if you're not building a leadership skill as a people manager, it's crucial to ask for high-impact, high-visibility initiatives and to develop leadership abilities in how you engage with other teams.
Don't be a robot. Aim to focus strategically on the things that will have the most influence, and to say no to things that will not. Being perceived as strategic rather than an executor might be more beneficial in terms of growth.
Generally, progressing along the leadership route will need a specific degree of experience and seniority.
Expect to spend less time on day-to-day programme execution and more time training and upskilling other team members, as well as positioning your team and strategy within the wider company, as you go up the leadership path.
Typical leadership pathways
It's worth emphasising that not every organisation will have overlapping of levelling, especially at stages 3, 4, and 5, and there will almost never be a clear, pre-defined career path. The highest level possible inside community may indicate how much the organisation values community rather than your personal growth potential.
Grow as Community Leader
Transitioning from "in-the-weeds" labour to more high-level, strategic work is a typical issue for community leaders. While it's critical to have your feet on the ground and understand the jobs of individuals you oversee, mastering this balance can be what distinguishes a successful community leader.
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