The picture of leadership has changed dramatically over the last ten years, giving rise to a scenario where a leader’s performance depends a lot on their network. When you think about it, you will notice that old-fashioned networking patterns no longer apply in an environment where technology develops at incredible rates.
This blog acts as a guide for leaders who seek success in this age and provides them with progressive-minded networking tactics.
Research shows that the composition of your network is more important than its size. Another London Business School study emphasizes the importance of understanding and strategically classifying your network into personal, operational, and strategic groups.
Operational networks comprise colleagues and other internal contacts who help you accomplish routine tasks and maintain operational workflows.
Personal networks include industry peers or mentors with similar career paths or interests to yours. These people allow you to grow your professional journey outside your company.
Strategic networks transcend your immediate operational area and impact your organization or career success. This group can be influencers within your industry, high-level professionals, or senior leaders who can open new doors.
Mentorship programs benefit any individual or organization, and data backs up this fact. 75% of business leaders said that mentorship played a big part in their success. Another study revealed that 96% of mentees found mentoring helpful in learning from their mentors' successes, mistakes, and overall experiences.
However, mentors can also benefit from their mentees. A study showed that 75% of mentors said participation helped them develop their leadership skills. For success, mentorship requires the mentor to reflect on their career to support the mentee's growth - which can be a valuable learning exercise.
The mentor can train many mentees who will eventually move to work for various positions in other organizations. These mentees will form the backbone of a strong network of people representing the mentor's name for years or decades.
Participating in virtual events will expose you to skills and essential resources from your peers and industry experts. You will build genuine connections that can last for a long time. Plus, attending these events can give you the rare opportunity to share your experiences and knowledge, allowing you to position yourself as a reference in your industry.
Girls in Tech is an example of an event where attendees network virtually with others across the tech world. The one-day extravaganza held on September 9 includes a virtual career fair, online courses, and ad-hoc chat sessions where people can develop their networking skills.
Actively participate as a connector in driving collaboration amongst members within your network or contacts. Identify what individuals are good at and bridge the gaps by fostering synergy among complementary people and interests. Do not just network out there for personal gains but also as a way of helping others in strengthening your relationships. By doing so, you help build an environment where meaningful networks will flourish, raising everyone’s bar.
An effective leader understands that a better future requires using the right strategies to conscientiously and purposefully enhance their networks. However, our networks don’t have to remain static; we must align our networking style with our changing needs and professional phases.