Let's talk about community manager self care best practices


(Jessica Malnik) #1

This should get most of your attention. :slight_smile:

Self care is a pretty common topic among us community managers. And, one I’m going to talk about but probably not how you would expect.

Don’t get me wrong, self care is important. Anytime you are in a role where you deal with lots of people, the risk of burnout is elevated. Community professionals are no different than social workers and nurses in that regard.

The problem is often times we lull ourselves into a false sense of security by over-emphasizing “self care best practices" and “how to prevent burnout.”

Yes, self care can prevent burnout. But, burnout is only an issue when you are over-working or over-stressed for too long of a period of time. We tend to think burnout is just an indicator that you have too many things going on and have taken on too many projects and tasks. What we fail to realize is it is more of an indicator that you struggle with prioritization and delegation.

When every task is new and urgent, urgent loses its meaning. Not to mention, things fall through the cracks, projects go unfinished, mistakes happens, etc.

The thing that seems the most urgent at the time is almost always NOT the most important task. For example, responding to a negative email or comment from a customer is an urgent task. An important task is creating a crisis communication system and training others in your organization for how to respond to negative comments in all forms. Therefore, you don’t always have to drop everything else and fight fires day in and day out.

It is really hard to engage in strategic planning and deep work, if you are constantly putting out one fire after another.

Fighting fires and too many “urgent tasks” competing for your attention is only half of the problem.

The real root of the problem is some community manager roles inherently can be a little generic or undefined. While it is better than it used to be even 3 years ago, not every company understands how to fully utilize a community manager.

This leads community managers to go out of their way to find anyway they can to show their value in their respected organizations. This often means being the one to work on projects across multiple departments and usually volunteering to lead projects that no one else wants.

That inherently can be a great thing. That’s how you become indispensable to an organization.

When left unchecked, it can also be a major weakness. If you take on too many projects at once, you subject yourself to missing deadlines, overworking, subpar results and of course burnout (if it goes on too long).

Not to mention, if you are constantly being asked to show your value, prepare powerpoints or spreadsheets for what you do every day and take on more and more projects, it is a recipe for lack of confidence and insecurity in your role.

That’s a deadly combination to be in. You are taking on more and more work. But, the results aren’t as good as they can be.

I’ll share more about the solution for how to combat this in part 2. (i.e upcoming post).

What to do when you are drowning in work and have a never-ending to-do list
(Sarah Hawk) #2

This is such an important observation. One of the things that I’ve always struggled with is that our success is measured on the behaviours of other people, which we often can’t control.

(Jessica Malnik) #3

Community managers are no different than writers or any creative professionals for that matter. I’m going to use this example because I’m a writer. But, you really have to learn to fall in love with the process and constant experimentation. Everything you try as a community manager isn’t going to work, the most thought-out plan can still fall apart at first contact with the community. You have to be willing to throw out your idea, start fresh and move onto something new.

Do that enough, eventually a few things will stick and you’ll start to see bigger and bigger results.

(Piper_Wilson) #4

@jessicamalnik - I wish I had something constructive to add to this. There is so much goodness here. Thank you.

(Darren Gough) #5

Agree 100% with this.

Sadly I think with community management there’s a sense that we have to get everything right first time or the buy in we’ve (maybe recently) gotten from peers or leaders will evaporate.

Aside but I’ve been following some of your personal insight writing work @jessicamalnik and it’s been really interesting to read. Congrats.

(Sarah Hawk) #6

Agreed. And I have to make all my mistakes publicly in front of all of you! PRESSURE!!

(Piper_Wilson) #7

I scoff at the idea of @HAWK making mistakes. :wink:

(Sarah Hawk) #8

Ha! I appreciate the sentiment but it happens on a fairly regular basis. Just ask my boss. :wink:

(Jessica Malnik) #9

Thanks, @Darren_Gough. I didn’t realize you read some of my blog posts. It is cool to hear that they resonated with you. :slight_smile:

(Shreyas) #10

I have to echo what @Piper_Wilson just said. Can’t wait to read more. Thanks again for starting this @jessicamalnik.

(Jessica Malnik) #11

Just posted Part 2. I"m curious to hear all of your thoughts. :slight_smile: