Some of my clients would like to have more power and influence. Many of them are very good at what they do: they have great technical skills and knowledge. But to be a good leader and be perceived as one, they also must be good managers and know how to influence.
When I tell them that when you want to get promoted and move higher in the organization you need 50% technical skills and knowledge, and 50% emotional intelligence and relational skills ,they are surprised.
When I work with leaders, I ask them if they know who is important in their network: who do they need for information, for knowledge, for support and do they need to work with to get buy-in on certain projects. I ask them to approach building their network as if it was a project.
The three things to remember in building your network are:
- Who are key stakeholders you need to work closely with? – make a list
- Who are relationships you need to especially work on (repair, improve or see more)?
- Who can help you on leveraging your strengths and who can help you with specific development opportunities you may have?
Once these questions are answered you can then create a plan for whom you will be meeting and when, what the goal of those meetings will be, and how you will continue to improve and sustain your networking skills year long.
Gaining influence, getting buy-in and building a supportive and healthy network takes time and patience, but once you’ve invested in doing so you will reap the benefits.