10 Traits That Make a Good Community


What makes a good community? Before answering that question, let’s zoom out a little bit.

Humans are made to live and work with others in a positive community where we can thrive. We are social beings that have evolved to exist within communities.

Every successful individual knows that his or her achievement depends on a community of persons working together.

Paul Ryan

The quality of a community correlates to the degree of engagement and happiness individuals can draw from community interactions. Sadly, some communities promote feelings of self-doubt and isolation.

Positive communities are groups that inspire their members in ways that promote a sense of self-discovery and group connection, encouraging members to express their beliefs and values, as well as build relationships with others.

If you wish to learn more, our Positive Relationships Masterclass© is a complete, science-based training template for practitioners and coaches that contains all the materials you’ll need to help your clients improve their personal relationships, ultimately enhancing their mental wellbeing.

The Importance of Positive Communities

Involvement in a positive and encouraging community has a tangible impact on individual self-awareness and fulfillment.

Positive experiences with communities allow individuals to feel more connected to their environment and the people in it. This form of connection also provides a support system for members when they are in need of encouragement or sympathy.

Strong feelings of connection to the group also work to combat any mental illness that can arise from alienation in the form of anxiety and depression.

Positive community experiences provide members with a sense of belonging and the feeling of being able to express themselves without feeling judged.

Communities that excel at promoting this feeling of belonging encourage members to speak up about their ideas and opinions, which, in turn, leads to members considering their positions from a deeper perspective. Involvement in positive and encouraging communities facilitates self-reflection and exploration of core values and beliefs.


10 Traits of Positive Communities

Positive communities may differ in what they encourage and how their values get implemented into policy, but, overall, these groups share ten characteristics:


1. Work Together Toward a Common Goal

The most effective communities share similar values and belief systems that cooperate to help accomplish one or several goals. These goals can vary radically depending on the community in question.

For example, one community may value environmental goals such as promoting recycling and making forest areas more friendly to wildlife while another community may put more value on improving the education system.


2. Allow for Freedom of Expression

Central to developing a positive community is comfort among citizens when it comes to speaking their minds and expressing what is important to them. Individuals who feel encouraged to give their input about an issue, who feel heard when they do speak their minds are more likely to feel connected to their community.


3. Promote Fairness

Diversity is abundant in all communities. However, among every group containing diversity, there are always individuals who fall in the minority.

Positive communities work to ensure that those who fall in minority populations are not treated differently. These communities give a voice to minority populations through frequent consultation with members of those societies about how the community can improve to meet their needs better.


4. Set Clear Policies and Obligations

Positive communities do not set rules. Instead, they work to encourage community members to fulfill their obligations. This may include things as simple as attending community meetings or paying taxes to support the public school system.


5. Maintain Sensitivity Towards Members

In addition to feeling heard, members of positive communities also feel as though their concerns are adequately addressed and that they are cared for by the community. Positive communities prioritize the well-being of every member of the community and address concerns in a timely and sensitive manner when they arise.


6. Celebrate Community Heritage

Every long-standing community has heritage and traditions that have risen during the community’s development. Positive and efficient communities embrace their culture by reminding members of the long way the community has come.

This could be as simple as sending out an annual newsletter commemorating the accomplishments of the year or as elaborate as an annual festival held to celebrate the birthday of the community.


7. Promote Interaction Among Members

Positive communities work to foster a feeling of genuine connection among members by providing plenty of opportunities for interaction. Creating a feeling of connection works to make members more motivated to meet their obligations and work towards the established goals of the community.


8. Elect Leaders that Stand by Community Values

Individuals elected to leadership positions within positive communities should be fair and just in their political focus. Their shared values should inform the decisions they take for the community. Additionally, leaders should also take the thoughts and suggestions of the community members into account when making decisions that will affect their lifestyles.


9. Prioritize Effective Communication

Communication is essential for any effective community. All of the wheels need to be moving at the same pace for the project to continue successfully. Positive leaders ensure that all members are aware of the projects currently in process, as well as what they can do to help those projects run smoothly.


10. Make Smart Decisions

Decisions made by positive and encouraging communities focus primarily on the promotion of happiness among its members. Members will inevitably disagree on some issues or values, but an effective community leader incorporates concerns from both sides into the eventual decision made.


A Take-Home Message

Only the highest standard of a community can be classified as “positive” in this context, as the bar for these groups is set extraordinarily high. However, with dedicated effort and commitment to a better world, any community can become more positive and encouraging for its members. 

After all, according to Henrik Ibsen:

“A community is like a ship; everyone ought to be prepared to take the helm.”

If a community is like a ship, what else makes a positive community in a supportive environment? We’d love to hear from you in the comment section below.

We hope you enjoyed reading this article. If you wish to learn more, don’t forget to check out our Positive Relationships Masterclass©.

  • Morrissey, K. M. & Werner-Wilson, R. J. (2005). The relationship between out-of-school activities and positive youth development: An investigation of the influences of communities and family. Adolescence 40(157). 67-85. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.uky.edu/docview/195936458?accountid=11836&rfr_id=info%3Axri%2Fsid%3Aprimo
  • Six characteristics of strong communities. Student Resources, MIT. 
  • Timmons, R. Five traits of a successful community. Hoa-USA.com. Retrieved from http://www.hoa-usa.com/newsletterfeaturearticle061212.aspx

About the Author

Stephanie Caldow, B.A., is a certified positive psychology practitioner and holds a postgrad in Human Resource Management from the Australian College of Applied Psychology.


  1. Lisabeth Rozzelle

    Remember, you want a person to do something for you. You need to behave. You possibly won’t be able to stroll right into a department store as well as get 50 off on a new video camera. Yet if you locate one you like that has a minor flaw, such as a scrape, you need to ask to chat with the manager about the pricing.

  2. Juris Ainsworth

    My parents are planning to live elsewhere once they have retired and asked me to help them find the right place for them. It was good that I came across this article because, to be honest, I do not know about any traits that the perfect community has. One of the things that you mentioned was the idea that good and positive communities do not set rules and instead encourage their members to fulfill their obligations in their own responsible ways. I am sure my parents will love that. Thank you for the advice.

  3. Ravindranath

    Very interesting article. The article is in fact a glue to come together and to remain united.

  4. laila khan

    An excellent well thought out article on community development with a focus on fairness and happiness, inclusion of minorities, heritage and culture.. truly leading towards all that builds communities towards goals of living in harmony and peace, at the same time developing those areas that benefit all… educating indeed.

  5. MaryAnn P. Tchejeyan

    Wonderful article, a community that works together in a positive fashion promotes a healthy community, working together to raise strong families and the cores of values.

  6. Martin

    Interesting article! Do you know of any scales to measure the degrees of “positivity” within different subgroups?

    • Stephanie Diepering

      Hello Martin, that is a great question. We will get right on it and bring you an article on that soon. Keep your eyes on this space

      • Martin again

        Great! BTW, chapter 19 of The Oxford Handbook of Positive Psychology has a good section on “measures of positive affectivity”. Looking forward to the new article.


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