Alan Blake

Leadership is hard. Getting help is easy.

By Alan Blake

Our Community Leadership trainings instill the skills you need to lead in your resident-owned community (ROC).

Like anything worth doing, leadership is hard!

When I was asked to join the board of directors and eventually become president of my local Rotary Club, I was terrified. I love my Rotary Club. We do lots of great work in the community. But being responsible for running an organization of 80 members seemed overwhelming.

Fortunately, I had two valuable tools to work with. One, the Rotary network, which provides professional training and resources to help newbies run a local club. Two, my Rotary brothers and sisters who supported me every step of the way and were always there to answer questions and lend a hand.


Serving your resident-owned community is much the same, whether as a volunteer, committee chair, elected director or just stepping up when needed. And like Rotarians, you have resources available to guide you along the path to becoming an effective leader in your co-op.

Skills to lead by

The ROC-NH™ Community Leadership training series is one of the most valuable tools available to you. This series of seven workshops combines education, networking, and practical ways to put to work what you’ve learned. Our down-to-earth approach gives you the skills you need to be successful leaders in your community—and in other areas of your life. It is also an opportunity to gather ideas from fellow co-op members and figure out ways to help each other.

The program meets one Saturday a month for seven months, beginning in the fall and ending in early spring. This year, for the first time, we’re holding two training series— one in Concord and the other in Lancaster, for North Country ROCs. Here’s a taste of what each workshop covers. 

Session 1. The Foundations of Community Leadership lays out the vision and expectations of the series. Meet your fellow participants and share why you’re investing time and energy in this training.

Session 2. BOOT CAMP! focuses on the nuts and bolts of managing a ROC, including using bylaws for problem solving, running effective meetings, reading those pesky financial statements, and making sure your co-op stays in compliance with the law and your co-op’s rules.

Session 3. Let’s talk: Tips for Effective Communication covers the importance of effective and ethical communication, including verbal and non-verbal communication, active listening, asking good questions, and what ethical communication means and why it’s important.

Session 4. Keep Cool, Get Results explores managing conflict constructively and productively. Topics include preventing conflict through relationship building and communication, understanding ourselves and our “hot buttons,” managing our emotions for productive outcomes, and understanding the internal and external factors that contribute to conflict.              

Session 5. Got Skills? encourages you to take what you’ve learned to actively engage members of the community. Topics include identifying community member talents and skills, the importance of building relationships, and identifying key opportunities for community-building.       

Session 6. The Power of Planning and Purpose enables members to identify goals and issues, and learn how to successfully plan to move forward. Topics include getting to the root of problems, learning how to identify issues and goals, and quick and easy action planning.                           

Session 7. What Next? takes stock of what you’ve learned and begun to put into practice. We’ll assess what has worked, what hasn’t, and evaluate the program for future community leaders. Topics include implementing the skills and strategies you’ve learned, celebrating successes, identify ongoing areas for learning, staying connected with your peers for support, and a wrap-up and evaluation.

A little help from your friends

Everyone needs a little help from their friends, neighbors, fellow volunteers. Just as Rotarians have built a network of like-minded people to support each other, co-op members can support each other for the good of everyone in their community. When you ask others for advice, or to take on tasks, they bring their valuable experience and skills, and your members will appreciate you recognizing them for it.

And don’t be afraid to reach out to the ROC-NH team. Effective leaders know they don’t know it all and seek assistance often. Don’t we all need a little help from time to time?

Your investment in time and energy to complete the Community Leadership series will make you a more-skilled, more-knowledgeable and more-effective leader in your community.  It’s hard work! But your investment in time and energy will pay off in a healthier and happier neighborhood you will be proud to call home.

Alan Blake is a ROC-NH Organizational Trainer.

ROC-NH™ is a program of the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund, Inc. and a ROC USA® Certified Technical Assistance Provider.
ROC-NH is a registered service mark of ROC USA, LLC.