The Direction of Leadership: Networking and Coalition BuildingApr 04, 2011
Are you looking to be at the cutting edge of leadership development? Do you want to start developing now the skills that will get you noticed in the coming years?
The business world is in the midst of a transformation that will favor leaders who are experts at networking and building coalitions and teams. Change of all types is happening so rapidly now that it is difficult to maintain technical expertise and leadership in many areas. For a business, as well as yourself, it is therefore more critical than ever to be able to bring the right people together at the right time in order to create value.
It is important to understand that just because one person, including you, has a strength one set of circumstances that the same strength may be of little value in another set of circumstances.
A case in point can be seen in the March 24th issue of Businessweek where writer Devin Leonard discusses the leadership style of Dick Parsons, chairman of Citigroup. The article recognizes Mr. Parsons' strong person brand immediately as "Captain Emergency" as well as his style as a "master in the art of relationship".
Successful consulting firms are adept at this style of management by necessity. Teams are formed and dissolved as projects come and go. The project leaders are those who can find the next project and assemble the team with the right skills and temperament for the job. In order for the leader to successful do this he or she must know the skills and capabilities of the people in his or her network, and trust them to know the skills and abilities in their network. For example, a partner at a Big 4 consulting firm may know some of the people who would work well on a project and also need to has his or her colleagues for recommendations to fill in the gaps.
Bringing a project to a successful conclusion can also depend on the leader's ability to work across the client's organization in order to create buy-in and get assistance as needed. The key to success is being able to bring the right people together at the right time.
In successfully applying this leadership style, the leader goes beyond what we typically think of as networking in order to bring together a team, a coalition, to successfully accomplish a task. Many of today's biggest problems require people for many different fields to be able to get together, understand what each has to contribute to the solution and then execute. You may need to bring together computer programmers, marketers, engineers and business analysts in order to create the next new product or solution.
What are you doing to develop your relationships? Think about one person you know who can use some help, who do you know that can help?
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