Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Building Support Through An Internal Network – Part 2

Last week I wrote about how it’s not enough for a new leader to get results in their organization, but that it’s also important to build an internal network. Some people view the concept of an internal network as “office politics” or “sucking up to the man” in an organization. But I believe the importance of an internal network has very little to do with office politics and everything to do with building allegiances that will help you prepare for an ever changing organization.

Numerous studies show that 80 – 90% of your success in life is not the result of how smart you are, but about how well you relate to others around you. We’ve all known brilliant people who no one listens to because they present themselves so poorly. Likewise, we’ve known people who were moderately intelligent, but thrived because of their ability to connect with people, the right people. Making connections and building bonds in an organization is about understanding others and being understood.

In the studies surrounding Emotional Intelligence, experts like Dr. Robert Cooper and Dr. Laura Belsten refer to “Building Bonds” as a key competency under Relationship Management. In simple terms, an emotionally intelligent individual understands the importance of building relationships and routinely seeks out relationships that are mutually beneficial. They understand that it’s not enough to be smart if no one will listen to a thing that you say. And they understand that the key to persuasion lies not in facts and logic, but in the emotional connection with others. According to Dr. Belsten, people who exhibit this competency “can pick up the phone and call anyone in the organization, and know who to call to get answers or to slash through red tape or other obstacles.”

Building bonds inside and outside of your organization pays off in a number of ways. When you have a good, but possibly unpopular, idea and need the buy in and support of your peers and superiors, those bonds will help gain you the support you need. When the business changes and you need help aligning your team, your support network will help you understand and process how those changes will impact you and will prepare you for the new environment. And when mistakes are made, as they invariably are, you can look for support and guidance from those with whom you have built strong relationships.

Contrast this with the “smart loner” who focuses only on themselves and their own team; the person who has not bothered to build the bonds required because they know that they can “get results.” When this same person faces the challenges of building support for an unpopular idea, they will often be left on their own. When the business changes and they need information and support, none is forthcoming. And when mistakes are made, others may actually take some level of solace in their sudden problems.

Clearly the idea of building bonds is an idea that every leader needs to accept. But the question becomes, where do you begin? Who should you begin to build bonds with?

We’ll talk more about that in next week’s edition.

At ECI Learning Systems LLC, we are dedicated to helping companies get the greatest return from their most valuable asset: their employees. We work with you to align 3 key organizational factors:
• Your Company Culture
• The Leadership Styles of your key managers
• The Expectations of your Employees

When these 3 factors are aligned, you create an energy in your company that improves productivity, reduces absenteeism, increases creativity, and positively impacts your bottom line. Contact ECI Learning Systems LLC today to get your free Workplace Evaluation.

Until next time.....

Dave Meyer
ECI Learning Systems, LLC

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