Networking: 4 Tips to Expand Your Leadership Influence

You likely have heard the old adage in the business world, “It’s not what you know; it’s who you know.” In generations past, networking typically involved shaking lots of hands and distributing a forest’s worth of business cards.

However, in the rapidly changing global marketplace, some networking consultants promote an updated notion. They contend that effective leadership isn’t just about what you know or who you know, but rather it is who knows you that expands your sphere of influence and catapults your leadership career.

Generating powerful professional momentum involves solid leadership skills, and knowing how to leverage those skills effectively can be essential for continued career advancement. Consider the following 4 tips when striving to reach your leadership potential.

Spread your Leadership Knowledge

Professionals who complete formal leadership development programs may sometimes revert to the same old patterns once the training is over. That can present a challenge when attempting to foster methods to secure long-term success.

Instead, consider the potential of being approachable. Cultivate a mentoring style that engages junior team members in side-by-side learning and ongoing professional development. Imparting your knowledge in a more accessible way can prompt team members with natural leadership skills to become allies, inspiring the rest of the group.

Effective leadership can motivate others to emulate success and may inspire teams by offering increased momentum. Being positive and excited about meeting new goals and addressing new challenges can rub off on your team.

Feed your own Growth and Engage with Others

After you complete a formal advanced certificate or degree program or online business course, it is important to continue cultivating your leadership development. It is not uncommon for new knowledge to need a little time to percolate in order for you to reap the most benefits. Joining one or more professional associations, as well as being active in alumni associations, may support your own growth and identify mentoring relationships that can help you sustain career longevity.

Speaking to student groups, civic organizations or other community-related groups about a leadership topic you are passionate about is another way to use your knowledge to promote ideas and make worthwhile connections. Many business leaders involve their teams in volunteering with youth groups or supporting a civic organization. This can help build team rapport, secure community respect and build brand recognition and confidence through an investment of time and knowledge.

Cultivate your Contacts

In a business environment where portable devices and social media are seemingly ubiquitous, it makes sense to learn how to utilize these various tools for maximum benefit. Part of your leadership mentoring can involve assisting your team in developing effective communication skills, including social media and portable devices.

Leaders in companies such as Home Depot and IBM encourage employees to blog about products and services to which they feel connected and can help promote. This can create a workplace culture where employees want to stay up to date on products and services in order to remain experts in particular areas.

If the use of social media doesn’t fit well in your organization, you can still consider using it to build a wider network around yourself. Sharing your ideas with others through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and blogs can help open doors as your career unfolds. It also offers another way for your team to connect with you and access your leadership knowledge. As we mentioned before, in today’s electronic world it’s all about who knows you.

Identifying the most popular blogs in your field, following them, responding to them and possibly even writing a guest post are ways effective leaders can spread their knowledge. Remember also to plan face-to-face time with peers. Many professional organizations offer social mixers, sponsor conferences and provide regional gatherings that can help you network and decompress.

Spring into Action

Developing your role as a mentor and leading with an engaging style can help you contribute to your current organization with new leadership knowledge and skills. It may also be a good idea to seek out mentors of your own in order to secure career longevity and keep your skills current. Other leaders have walked the same path and usually are more than willing to share tidbits of wisdom.

By utilizing your leadership abilities to influence your organization, network effectively and engage in your local community, you may be able to influence a wider segment of society in a positive and powerful way. Embraced fully, leadership can become a way of inspiring others to achieve more together than they can alone.  Are you inspiring your team to acheive more than they currently believe they can as individuals?

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