People Skills for Online Community Managers - dummies

People Skills for Online Community Managers

By Deborah Ng

Because online community management is a public job and because you have to deal with people on a daily basis, being a community manager requires skills far beyond that of a general education. Some of the skills are learned, and some of the skills are innate, but all are necessary.

Not everyone has what it takes to be a community manager, not only because of the many tasks and duties a community manager has to handle, but also because of the skillset. It takes a special person to run a community.

The ability to deal with people is a skill that many people don’t have. It’s not easy to treat all people the same way whether you agree with them or not, and it’s certainly not easy to keep a pleasant, even tone with people who are making you so angry that you want to tear your hair out. Still, that’s what the job requires.

There are absolutely no occasions on which you should be cross with a community member.

Having people skills doesn’t mean being Polly Perky all the time, though. Although you’re expected to remain positive and upbeat, you also have to be respectfully firm when a member makes an unreasonable request or you can’t give him what he wants.

Your people skills take you through a variety of circumstances and situations. Not all situations are positive, so you have to be able to handle all of them without flying off the handle, calling people names, or slamming down the phone. It’s the corporate equivalent of a doctor’s bedside manner.


These traits will serve you well as a community manager:

  • Polite.

  • Respectful.

  • Calm.

  • Fair.

  • Firm.

If you’re known for being brutally honest or using swear words to illustrate a point, you probably should work on those people skills a little more. You’re not there to make folks feel chastised, hurt, or offended. Rather, you should strive to make everyone feel comfortable, even in uncomfortable situations.