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Leadership Today - Practical Tips For Leaders

Mar 18, 2022


If you needed help, who would you turn to? The amount of support we receive depends on how well those people are interconnected. Community multiplies support.


Welcome to episode 129 of the Leadership Today podcast where each week we bring research to life in your leadership. This week we are exploring how community multiplies support.

If you needed help, who would you turn to? Most of us have a few friends or work colleagues that we can turn to for help. But how supportive do you think these people would be?

It turns out that how much these colleagues and friends know and like each other has an impact on the level of support we feel we receive. The more those we seek support from are connected with each other in community, the greater the support we experience.

Researchers describe this as network density - the extent to which individuals in the network are interconnected in positive and supportive relationships.

David Lee from the University of Buffalo describes it this way - "The more cohesive, the more dense this network you have, the more you feel you can rely on them for support. It matters if your friends can depend on each other, just like you depend on them.”

Jonathan Stahl, another member of the same research team, put it this way "You can have two friends who are both very supportive of you, but if they are both friends with each other, that makes you feel even more supported.”

So it’s not just the number of connections that matter, but also how much those connections are in community with each other.

We know that connections and feeling like we belong matter at work. This research shows that as we build community and connections in the workplace, there is increased potential for people to feel supported by others. 

As a leader, you can strengthen your team by investing in team building. Help those in your team to build connections with each other and provide support. Being in a community multiplies support.


David S. Lee, Jonathan L. Stahl, Joseph B. Bayer. Social Resources as Cognitive Structures: Thinking about a Dense Support Network Increases Perceived SupportSocial Psychology Quarterly, 2020; 019027252093950 DOI: 10.1177/0190272520939506