Networking—creating a fabric of personal contacts who will provide support, feedback, insight, resources, and information—is simultaneously one of the most self-evident and one of the most dreaded developmental challenges that aspiring leaders must address.
Typically, managers rise through the ranks by dint of a strong command of the technical elements of their jobs and a laser focus on accomplishing their teams’ objectives. When challenged to move beyond their functional specialties and address strategic issues facing the overall business, many managers do not immediately grasp that this will involve relational—not analytical—tasks. Nor do they easily grasp that exchanges and interactions with a wide network of current and potential stakeholders are not distractions from their “real work” but are actually at the heart of their new leadership roles.
Tony Elumelu understands this to perfection.