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Leadership Development Tips for Effective Career Networks

Network Leader
October 16, 2023
minute read

Do our networks have the power to change the way we think? Recent webinar hosts Cassaundra and Kristin would argue yes. In fact, networks shape how we process information, approach opportunities, and evaluate critical resources.

Then it’s no surprise that those who are “good” at networking (i.e. develop effective networks) experience accelerated career mobility, higher performance, and greater success in complex and dynamic workplaces. But what makes a good networker?

In Network Leader’s latest webinar with Cassaundra Brownell and Kristin Cullen-Lester, the two discussed strategies for building better, more effective career networks.

Here are the top tips they recommend from our live chat, which you can revisit here

For fast movers and quick role transitions

It turns out that one of the best times to leverage and capitalize on your network is during a role transition. During this time, it's especially beneficial to you, and your organization, to become a “fast mover”—one who transitions quickly and assimilates their networks to the new culture.

Here’s what Kristin and Cassaundra recommend for fast movers.

Tip #1 – Expand your network

Expand your network by asking people questions that help uncover critical connections within the organization. This helps you more deeply understand unwritten rules and norms.

Tip #2 – Show genuine curiosity

Show curiosity, learn about your colleagues, and resist the urge to focus solely on yourself and self-promotion. By understanding others, you can tailor your messages and deliver value effectively.

Tip #3 – Generate pull

You create a pull effect when you make genuine effort to know your colleagues and demonstrate your own values based on their needs. This draws others toward you and your ideas.

Tip #4 – Identify value to bring

Recognize that transitions may create gaps in skills and knowledge, and use your network to help fill the spaces.

Tip #5 – Have a network mindset

You can encourage a network mindset by recognizing that networks are dynamic and require ongoing effort and intentionality.

For incorporating networks into leadership development

One simple, yet effective way to learn more about your organization is to listen in on colleagues’ calls. Though somewhat contrary to the idea of fast movers, network development should happen more gradually over time.

Here’s how to use that time to incorporate networks into your ongoing practice of leadership development.

Tip #1 – Create awareness through analysis

First, analyze the current state of your network to understand its strengths and weaknesses. Then you can set your network development goals.

Tip #2 - Set network development goals

Set clear goals that guide your efforts to improve the quality of your networks. These goals should align with your career and organizational objectives.

Tip #3 – Form network development strategies

Develop a strategy for achieving your network development goals. It should incorporate network development into your daily work activities and interactions.

Tip #4 – Measure impact and continue the practice

Periodically measure the impact of your network development efforts. Reflect on progress made, adjust strategies as needed, and ensure ongoing network development.

The impact of developing networks intentionally

While Network Leader continues to gather more extensive, organizational-level data, and partner with organizations who are open to collecting such data, there is no denying the essential nature of intentional network-building in overall career growth. 

And the best way to do that, as Kristin and Cassaundra discussed, is by developing effective networks “in the flow of work”—gradually, consistently, and intentionally.

Start a conversation and learn why leading organizations trust us to deliver real results.