Community leadership

We tend to expect someone else to improve the livelihood or living condition of the community we live in but seldom do we take it upon ourselves to do the needful. As such, we keep complaining about the state of affairs around us without doing our part to change it. By community, we mean a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common. It could be our neighborhood, locality, ward, village or town. Any member of the community can become a leader of that community. In any given neighborhood or community, it’s quite likely that individuals who hold certain roles, such as elected officials, are de facto community leaders. However, we must remember that a community leader is not necessarily someone who is elected or has any official position of authority. Community leaders come in various forms and there is no one single definition of a community leader. Community leaders, however, have certain common traits like a desire to improve the community he lives in, has something to contribute and does not wait around for someone else to get the job done. Community leaders are often ‘self-appointed’ in that they take responsibility for the well-being and improvement of their communities. They don’t work for profit making. Community leadership is different from the traditional understanding of leadership because community leadership is often based on volunteer action and improving community members’ lives. In our context, we do see certain traits of community leadership but are more hierarchal, formal and authorized. For example, we have youth or student organizations that perform the role of community leadership. However, these are not truly community leaders in the real sense of the term. This may be because there is a felt need for community leadership but our society often does not recognize individual voices, which is why the members of the community tend to form groups to raise a collective voice in order to be heard. Studies indicate that the emergence of effective leaders in a community is one of the key elements of strengthening the overall well-being of the people in that locality. Evidence shows that community leaders effectively support, foster, and enable community development.


The model of one leader at the top with everyone else at the bottom just doesn’t work for communities. We need many community leaders. There is room in Mokokchung for more community leaders. A few leaders can’t possibly solve all the complex problems that our communities face. With more community leaders, our communities will do better. The more people become leaders, the more problems we will solve.


We need community leaders to think about and organize around many issues: youth development, employment, sports, economic growth, alcoholism and substance use, crime, the environment, health care – the list goes on and on. Each issue will require a number of committed leaders to handle them. We need community leaders of every hue. We need leadership from all walks of life in order for ours to truly improve and progress.

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