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Helen Green

Quest Leadership

Leadership Collaborator

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Follow my leader


Why do we network? Ask any room full of people and the answers will be as varied as the organisations represented. Some will network because they want to make contacts who will help them in furthering their business plan. Others will go one step further and say that because people buy from people they want to start to build relationships for the future.

Sadly, there will be those who seek networking purely in terms of sales gained and will count it a failure if they have not secured business from attending a single meeting. And finally, beware those who are attending because they’ve been told to. Actually, beware is probably the wrong word because these people will stand on their own or chat in little enclaves; thereby adding nothing to the networking experience.

This leads us on to perhaps a more important question than our opening one: what does the way in which we network say about our organisation? Let’s start with the forced attendees. The fact that they’ve been told to attend speaks much about the business/employee relationship. The fact that once there they have no interest in conversing or building relationships with others speaks even more about their levels of engagement with the organisation.

Even worse than the disinterested attendees are those who dance attendance upon their leader. Following them around the room, they join the discussion groups but add little apart from nodding wisely when their leader speaks or speaking the odd word to reinforce their leader’s pronouncements. Is the hierarchy within the organisation so strong that they have nothing to add of their own or are afraid to break away and lead conversations in their own right? And what sort of a leader is it that sees nothing wrong in surrounding themselves with ‘yes-men’?

On the other side of the coin you have the success stories; the people who are so engaged with their organisation that they are happy to talk openly and freely, the people who are empowered to open discussions and negotiations and to build relationships, and the people whose confidence has been strengthened through working in an organisation which values and trusts them. These are the people who promote the strength of their organisation simply by the way in which they network.

The secret behind all of these successful networkers is the leadership. A leader who empowers and enables, who encourages and inspires will develop a team of confident, outgoing employees. Conversely a leader who seeks to control will end up with repressed followers who generate a negative impression on all those whom they meet.

Why do we network? Well there are all sorts of positive reasons but unless your organisational culture is strong and your employees engaged then in networking you may simply be doing more harm than good. If you’d like to learn more about leadership development then feel free to get in touch at

One Response

  1. Really interesting blog,

    Really interesting blog, thanks for sharing. 

    I think there are a few things to pick out here;

    – When networking online I always try and treat the web like one big room. You wouldn't go over and start pitching to someone straightaway in real life – you need to establish common ground, credibility and a rapport / relationship first.

    – I think the best networkers are those without a preset agenda – someone that is just a "people person" and who wants to grow there network and is genuinely interested in other peoples stories. These people are not just in it for themselves and and are keen to achieve a win-win for both parties.

    I recently wrote a series of blogs called "Consultative selling using training management software" which looks at networking best practice and how to position yourself as a trusted advisor.

    We have also just published some revealing research which explores the "Seven habits of highly Successful Training Providers" and which identifies the golden thread of winning habits that all high-performers embody.


    Thanks again!


Author Profile Picture
Helen Green

Leadership Collaborator

Read more from Helen Green

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