Phil Willburn – Networked Leadership

Network Challenges for High-Potential Leaders

In my earlier post I shared this diagram that identifies network challenges for leaders at different levels of the organization. Today’s post is about high-potential leaders and their specific network challenges.

The need to create large influence networks

High-potentials leaders are busy meeting lots of people trying to create a large network to influence and buzz around their name. If they know that have been identified as a high-potential, they often feel the need to create these large networks in order to feel worthy of the reputation as a high-potential. High-potentials are trying to make their stamp on the organization – to be noticed and recognized for their individual achievements.

Network Challenge: Lack of in-depth relationships

However, high-potentials often lack depth in their relationships. Their fast moving wide-casting methodology for relationships building does not provide opportunity to build deep connections. Typically these relationships are cordial and superficial at best. As they transition from driving local change to organizational change, these shallow relationships will not be enough for their continued success.

Networking Solution: Develop stronger deeper relationships early on

High-potentials must develop strong deep relationships early in their career. These deep relationships provide trust, flexibility, and honesty. One of the biggest derailement factors for young ambitious leaders is the lack of self-awareness. High-potentials can gain greater self-awareness by creating a cadre of deep, trusted relationships that are able to deliver constant, constructive feedback. They also need strong relationships in order to drive the type of organizational change they are asked to do. Change requires commitment, and most employees put their commitment in the people of the organizations not the organization itself.

The high-potential trying to push a new organizational initiative without strong relationships across the company will find significant resistance to their effort.

If not attended to: Will get the reputation around using people

If high potentials to not develop deep relationships, they can be viewed as political. They will get a reputation around using people. This reputation then decreases the number of people who want to build relationships with them thus decreasing their future opportunities.

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