4 Networking with the right people
A key element in achieving your goals will be to identify the people who can help you. They might be more senior colleagues who can put you forward for relevant opportunities, or members of the team you’re collaborating with on a project. Either way, building a strong network can be hugely beneficial to your leadership development.
The Oxford English Dictionary (2017) defines networking as ‘The action or process of making use of a network of people for the exchange of information, etc., or for professional or other advantage’.
It can often seem daunting and many people profess a dislike for it as an activity. However, put simply, it is about getting to know professional people and showing them your potential.
Kathryn Minshew, founder of The Muse career website, has some.
Activity 5 Who can help you?
Look at the goals and action plans you identified in Activity 4. Are there any individuals who could help you with those actions? Use the following categories to get you started:
People I already know, for example, at work, personally etc.:
People who are connected to them, for example, their LinkedIn contacts, friends/colleagues etc.:
Strangers who have a shared interest, for example, leadership experts, discussion forum members etc.:
Now you have generated a list of useful contacts, add contacting them to your action plan and set a time frame in which to do it.
There are several professional organisations with an interest in leadership. In the UK these include:
- Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development
- Chartered Management Institute
- Institute of Directors
- Institute of Leadership and Management
See the References section for web links.
Many of them will have online discussion fora or run conferences or other networking events that you may be able to access. Your sector-related professional bodies and organisations will also have an interest in leadership, regardless of their specialism, so it’s worth visiting their websites and investigating their approach to leadership development too.
If you are based outside the UK, there will be a range of professional organisations that are either relevant to your profession or focus specifically on leadership. Use a search engine tool such as Google to identify them.