One of the most important traits of a good community manager is patience. You need to be patient with members, you need to be patient when encouraging relationship building and you need to be patient waiting for conversations to develop.
Unfortunately, patience is rarely seen on the list of desirable skills for a community manager (normally because employers want quick results). Consequently, I come across a large number of online communities where the community manager is effectively running the show.
As a community manager, you shouldn’t be at the top of the ‘Top Posters’ list. You shouldn’t be the one starting all the conversations. You shouldn’t be the first (or only) responder to every conversation. A good community manager is more involved ‘behind the scenes’ – they’ll alert members to relevant discussions and encourage members to get involved instead.
If you’re the loudest voice in your online community, vow to make a change (yes, you can do this even if your community is small). Instead of responding immediately to new discussions, reach out to other members and invite them to respond instead. If you think of a good idea for a new discussion topic, nominate another member to share their thoughts on the subject and get the conversation started.
Don’t be the loudest voice in your online community. Work hard to make sure you don’t become your community’s most important member. Patience and being able to wait are powerful (and rare) skills.