How “I am Groot” defines a community manager’s role

I was watching Guardians of the Galaxy, Part 2 and I realized that while baby Groot was making me laugh, it was Rocket that I understood. Rocket is an interpreter. He might even be a community manager.

In Guardians of the Galaxy, there’s a character called Groot. And the only thing he ever says is “I am Groot.” After a few instances, it becomes clear that he is saying a lot with each “I am Groot.”

This becomes particularly clear in Guardians of the Galaxy, Part 2. Every time Baby Groot says “I am Groot,” Rocket either responds to him or tells the rest of the group what Baby Groot just said.

For example, in the scene below, Baby Groot knocks over an alien and then says “I am Groot” and Rocket responds “They were not looking at you funny.” In that moment, we realize that Baby Groot is obviously saying something that we don’t understand.

Community managers are often interpreters just like Rocket is. Community managers often can hear both sides of a discussion and they realize what someone is trying to say that is not being heard by others. They hear “I am Groot” and realize the person is saying “If we do it this way, then we’ll get more contributors.” or “If you do it that way, you’re forgetting about that risk I mentioned before.” They are interpreters. Or at least people that can recognize that something is getting lost in translation.

Good community managers make sure people are heard correctly and lead us to realize that we are missing some thing. That way we all learn to listen more carefully leading to better communities.

Originally published on Medium.