Having a great network is one thing, but putting it to work for you is a separate talent.
As a leadership coach I often see people who are concerned with being well-liked at work. Others spend inordinate amounts of time trying to connect with the higher ups.
People that really get how to use their connections know that it’s not about ‘leveraging’ influence or calling in favors. Quite the opposite.
You know you’ve got great relationships when people around you are inspired to take action because they feel personally committed to your game plan. You’re a true connector when people know that you believe in them and that you want what’s in their best interest, not just your own.
When people see you this way, there’s a trust that arises. And from that trust, there’s a willingness to help.
To have this rapport with people, you have to get out of your own head and think beyond your own aspirations. You need to start truly understanding those around you and what motivates them on an individual level.
Here are some warning signs to watch for in yourself:
* Do you connect with people mostly for a strategic purpose rather than out of genuine interest?
* After you meet someone new, do you think about how that person might be useful to you in the future?
* Do you tend to disregard people if you think they’re not in a position to help you?
These are signs that you’re letting your ambition get in the way of your relationships, and this is a sure-fire way to limit your ability as a leader.
I believe leadership is about people first, goals second – because you won’t be achieving any goals without people on your side.