The 6 S’s of Leadership: (One of Six)
Sourcing Through Networking
Webster’s (2021) defines networking as “An interconnected or interrelated chain, group, or system.” When leaders think of the word, “network”, it’s likely that many of us visualize a mass of technical wires, cords, or lines that connect or intersect with each other in some way. These lines always originate back to a single hub or central locale. I’m likely dating myself. However, the visual that first comes to my mind are the age-old pictures and movie clips depicting an energetic female telephone switchboard operator, dressed in pearls, fishnet hose, and high heels, fluidly maneuvering and multi-tasking through a series of rings, bleeps, buttons, colored chords, mouth pieces, hand pieces, and tangled lines. Her single task was to serve as a “people source” or “human networking hub” by urgently, seamlessly, efficiently and effectively answering, sending, and connecting calls for many people all at once!
Much like the analogy of the telephone switchboard operator, the leader also engages people to perform as an operational networking hub for one another by serving as a catalyst for efficient and effective communication toward operationalizing goals. In today’s society, much of this can be done either through face to face interactions or by capitalizing upon readily available, technological “push of a button” resources, such as virtual conferencing, direct and instant messaging, emailing, or text messaging, etc.
Members of the leadership networking community aid one another by providing “people resources”, contacts, expertise and other necessary operational materials in which to provide reciprocal support to one another. Whether done informally or formally through business and leadership networks, our connectedness is rooted in common goals, relative mindsets, and relationship building. These networks allow us to tap into and utilize the diverse expertise that each leader brings to the network.
Juxtaposed, a productive leadership network also includes members whose stories and experiences are dissimilar. Their diverse expertise and fresh ideas serve as a critical component and thought-provoking propellent by engaging leaders in considering new and innovative ways of knowing and doing business. This in turn, allows us to build common ground, while ultimately resulting in a broadband of mutual leadership and relationship building for all stakeholders.