Network is defined as a group or system of interconnected people or things.
I can hear a lot of people cringe at the word "NETWORKING". As you develop your leadership skills, networking is a very important skill that needs to be understood and inculcated.Many people tell me they think networking is a waste of time or that they consider it unsavory or that the ROI on it is low and unpredictable.
If you want to succeed as a leader you need to make the time. I agree, a lot of people who are not very good at this or new at it, could be wasting time. They have gone to that conference, to those meetings, to this networking event, and what do they have to show for it? They have less time to do their day job. However over the longer term or even over the mid-term, those are the contacts that really pay off.
The second objection to networking is that it is sleazy and selfish, it is using people, it is political. As you move up within an organization or a career path, doing the actual work itself becomes less and less your role and getting work done through people becomes more and more your responsibility. That is where networks come in handy. Right ? Informal connections that give you information, ideas, resources support, political intelligence and frankly most people are not very good at building these networks and using them.
This is not easy for a lot of people who have survived and succeeded using their raw talent and hard work. In a leadership role you truly have to operate outside the box and if you have not been doing that previously in your career it is a change, a fundamental paradigm shift, a step outside your comfort zone.It is the quality not the quantity of contacts you make.
How you use your contacts is what really counts. We sometimes forget that networking is a two-way street and one needs to offer help and make connections for others in their network as well as expecting help from them. You can have the biggest contact list in your field, but if you only pick up the phone when you are in a crisis, you will not get far. That is why you do not want to leave yourself vulnerable to having no where to turn when you do have a crisis.Relationships take time, they take effort, they have their own dynamics … A lot depends on what you put into it and what you give back to it, to the extent of investment for the future, your network will be there for you.
Talent Power Partners works with individuals and organizations in supporting their Leadership Training Initiatives, through workshops and lecturettes, group alignment and coaching and one on one Executive Coaching. Visit us at www.talentpowerpartners.com
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