Whether people's differences are over the cost of police, a new middle-school, or trash collection, arguments pro and con should be presented so that your primary goal – to gain supporters – won't backfire on you.
Facts, explained so that everyone can understand them, are paramount. Diluting numbers with words could be taken as a sign of blurring the truth with fancy and accepted phrases (even if that's not the case).
If a comment or statement is based on an opinion, it must be presented as such. Not doing so could lead your audience to assume that it's fact and could lead to trouble if you're called upon to back up your statement (i.e. We can't release information because of a confidentiality agreement. What does the confidentiality agreement consist of? We can't tell you because it's confidential.) Huh?
Our communities grow. New people move in, blend with, and become shareholders in the responsibilities of running various aspects of the community. From governments to schoolboards to service organizations, growth happens. As a leader, know the good things and not-so-good things that make up the character of the community.
Remember that as our communities grow and leadership changes in any position from elected official to hired administrator, the risk of a community disconnect grows.
There was a time, not too long ago, when people lived, worked and were educated in their community. Now, you may be educated here but many people work outside of their "bedroom community." Elected officials may be required to live in their voting district but no such requirement exists for those who administrate local taxpayer-funded services.
In the latter, especially for those who wield decision-making or decision-swaying power that affects most of the people, an effort must always be made to stay connected with the people. You'll never know everybody in your community, but people will see and respond positively to your best and honest effort.
Trust in leadership is waning. Too often it is because people don't know or never met you. They'll side with people they know before they trust people they don't know.
Hobnobbing with the community "elite" will make you known to them only. They don't, and never did, represent the masses.
Rolling up your sleeves and shaking hands with the common-folk will go a long way to helping them trust you as a leader. And, when the going gets tough, those are the people who will most-likely stand with you. The elite – eh, not so much. They have too much to lose.
Position and money aren't worth as much as a person who trusts and believes in you.
Work every day to earn and keep that trust.
If you're a community leader in any elected, appointed or hired capacity, don't let public meetings be the only time you meet and interact with those you serve.
Join a club, attend local events, volunteer at charitable events, shop at local stores and eat at local restaurants. Find a reason to meet and greet people and, most importantly, listen and learn about them – those you know and those you never met.
Connect now and stay connected.