You know that feeling when you lose someone, and you often reflect back and wonder if there was more you could have done while you still had the chance? Well, this week something a bit like that happened on one of the communities I moderate.
A Surprising Goodbye
One of the moderating team, a well respected member of the community for several years, wrote a message in the staff room part of the site saying that he was handing in his badge. He revealed that his love for the community had been slowly ebbing away and as he was no longer enthralled and excited to be a member. As such, he didn’t feel able to continue as a moderator.
Nothing could be done to change his mind, and so an announcement was made on the public forum that he’d be a moderator no more, at which point a flood of tributes for him gushed forth from members saying what a great guy he was and so on.
All worthy praise indeed, but unfortunately a little too late to bring him back into the fold.
Show Some Love
Of course it’s only natural that members come and go on any community. They are, after all, mostly volunteers and so there may be many things going on in their life that hinder their ‘duties’ on your community. It’s unwise for you to think that you are the center of your team’s world, even if many do spend large chunks of their day on your site. Rather than providing you with an excuse however, I feel this is all the more reason to show some love to your team as often as possible.
I wrote about some research last year that looked into the kind of things that give us the biggest kick and make us feel great about ourselves. The usual suspects were expected to be dominating the list. You know, things like sex or chocolate. Except none of those things came out on top.
Do you know what did? A simple thank you. Nothing was more gratifying than a nod of appreciation for the things we do.
If You Can’t Say Thanks, Say Well Done
They say that “sorry” is the hardest word to say, but often “thank you” can be just as hard, so some related research may be of interest (if saying thank you doesn’t come naturally). The research asked three groups to do a task. One group had someone praising each individual on their efforts, another had praise handed out randomly, while the third group had to appraise themselves. The following day each group performed the same tasks again.
Who do you think did best? It turns out that the group that had each member praised by a moderator did significantly better on the 2nd day than the other two groups.
So all of you community managers out there, don’t wait until your staff lose their love and slowly drift away. Instead, make sure you show them how appreciated they are, and show them as often as you can. The research showed that this simple means of boosting self-esteem is a sure fire way to achieve an engaged team.