Recently I read the book Tribes by Seth Godin. Great book, especially if you are running a nonprofit. There are so many things I could talk about from it, but I want to focus on what a tribe is.

Seth says that a tribe is a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader and connected to an idea. An essential aspect of a tribe is a shared interest and a way to communicate. This is fascinating, and not what we traditionally think of when it comes to leadership and growing an organization.

Let’s be honest. Whether you are leading a group of volunteers, running a small business or managing a large organization, Seth’s ideas are not controlling enough. We typically think, what is the interest of the leader, the owner or the board of directors? The norm is to control ideas and communication. Everyone else needs to just get in line.

Seth says, “Great leaders create movements by empowering the tribe to communicate. They establish the foundation for people to make connections, as opposed to commanding people to follow them.” A hard pill to swallow, I know. How will you make a living? How will you keep others from running all over you? I can feel the anxiety growing in me as well.

I do not know all the answers to the questions piling up in your brain right now. After seven years of running a nonprofit, I’m still learning. I think Seth is right, though, and I’m trying to improve at leading my tribe. May you do the same.

Have you read Tribes? What were your big takeaways? Please share them in the comments section.

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