A Leader's NetworkNetworks and relationships are the currency for collaboration — and without the right ones, leaders are constrained and organizations are limited.

A new white paper, written for learning, talent and HR leaders, addresses how to help leaders build effective networks. In A Leader’s Network: How to Help Your Talent Invest in the Right Relationships at the Right Time, CCL’s Phil Willburn and Kristin Cullen describe why the ability to lead is directly affected by the networks a leader builds.

At each level in the organization, the relationship challenges and network needs are different, according to Willburn and Cullen. Typically, during a role transition or a career shift, leaders must modify their relationships to remain effective.

  • First-time managers are learning to manage former peers and to build work relationships for the first time. Their network goal is to transition relationships.
  • High-potential leaders are making a name for themselves and their work. Their network goal is to strengthen relationships.
  • Managers of managers — those leading departments and divisions — are focused on executing strategy and managing resources. Their network goal is to create strategic relationships.
  • Executives need to create strategy and manage public perception. Their network goal is to reverse insularity and isolation.

Of course, every leader does not experience these challenges, and certain challenges may reemerge at different points in leaders’ careers. But by understanding the patterns and pitfalls that exist, you will be able to take an informed look at leaders’ networks and tailor a response.

As a Human Resources executive, your work automatically cuts across functions and levels in the organization. One of the first things you’ll want to do is consider your personal network and the network connections within your function. Do you have the right relationships — or, is a different combination of ties needed to access information and leverage your ideas?

Beyond investing in your own network, Willburn and Cullen offer ways to use network knowledge to develop the social capital of leaders in your organization. Read the full paper for details: A Leader’s Network: How to Help Your Talent Invest in the Right Relationships at the Right Time.

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