Want to know my biggest leadership secret – the thing that allows me to to what I do, day in, day out?
It’s not me at all.
You see, I wouldn’t be the leader I am without my support network. From our amazing team here, to Greg, to my sister Kath, my friends, and all of you in the One of many community… There’s just no way I’d be able to lead and live in my soft power without you.
And while a lot of people talk about the importance of having a good network in place, I think that this is especially true for women. If you’re going to lead from a place of soft power, you’ve got to have people who’ve got your back.
Not your typical network
When I say network, what do you think of? Maybe a bunch of people who you’ve given your business card to or shaken hands with at networking events? People who support you generally, or one or two people who support you in niche areas of your life?
While there’s nothing wrong in particular with any of these ideas, I believe that to make a big, audacious difference in the world, you need to build a network that doesn’t just stand on its own, but is actually part of your leadership platform.
Your leadership platform can only stand on the pillars that are your key areas of life:
- Financial resources
And for us women, we also have what I call an emergency pillar, which is your network. So when any of your pillars goes a bit wobbly, your emergency pillar can jump in to help out and keep your platform stable.
As you can imagine, having this type of network doesn’t happen by accident. You’ve got to spend the time and effort in advance to very consciously create this network so that it’s there when you need it — you can’t expect it to spring up fully formed when you’re already in crisis.
How do you do that?
First you’ve got to give. Think about what you can give to those people you want to be in your network first; you’ll be amazed at how many doors open that way.
#2 Know yourself – so you can be honest with others
You need to get really clear on what you’re great at and what you’re not so great at. For instance, I’m like a lighthouse in relationships. When I’m with you, 100% of my being is focused on being with you. But when I’m not with you, I’m not great at remembering to send daily texts or emails to keep up. As long as I’m up front about that in relationships, things work out great, so do the same thing for yourself. What are your strengths and weaknesses?
Finally, you’ve got to be open to receiving help when it’s offered. For instance, if your neighbour has said that they’re happy to babysit whenever, take them up on it before it’s an emergency. By accepting help before you’re in a position where you’ll be in trouble without it, you build up a track record that makes it so much easier to get help when you do actually legitimately need it.
OK, but how do I know what my network should include?
Everyone’s network is going to look a little different. So how do you know what you actually need to make up your emergency pillar?
Try this exercise to find out:
Get an A4 sheet of paper, and across the top, write out all of the really important areas of your life, from health to work to spirituality to whatever else it is for you. Then, down the left side of the paper, write the following categories:
- Practical help (People who will do it for you).
- Mentors (People who have been there and done it and can advise you).
- Coaches (People who won’t tell you what to do, but will help you access your inner resources).
- Accountability (People who will hold you accountable).
- Sponsors (People who open doors for you).
- Investors (People who invest time and energy into you or your stuff).
- Emotional support (People who’re great on days when you’re down).
Right, now go through and flesh out your grid. Anyone that you’ve already got in your network, write their name in the right box.
You’re probably going to have some overlap — for instance, Greg is a great source of practical help and emotional support for me. Maybe your colleague gives you emotional support and is also someone you could delegate to when you need practical help.
Then go through and put a cross in any box you don’t need support with (for instance, I don’t need a parenting sponsor), and a star for any position that you need to fill.
Once you’ve gone through the whole grid, then identify your top three “missings”. Which ones would make the biggest difference to you if you were able to fill them?
And finally, look at the people who you’ve already got in place and ask yourself what you can do for them. Remember, a great network is all about give and take, so ask what you can give back!
Now the fun part … write down a position that you really need to fill in the comments below. Let’s see if we can get some network matchmaking going on!
Want more collaboration?
If you know you could do with more collaboration in your life, but aren’t sure who to connect with – we’ve got you. The One Woman Conference 2022 is happening 7-8 May, and registration opens soon! You’ll discover how you can consciously create a network of support and learn practical ways to avoid burnout, handle stress, and boost your resilience as a leader.
To read all about the conference and book your ticket, click here: https://onewomanconference.co.uk/
Our intention is simple. To support professional women to handle the day-to-day so they can unleash the bigger impact they feel called to make in the world.
We believe real leadership is less about skill, and more about having a well of physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual strength to draw on. Every week we support thousands of grassroots leaders globally with our free articles, videos and online trainings with powerful tools and methodologies created BY women FOR women.
Become One of many™ women creating strong, meaningful connections in our community.
You might also like to read...
- Navigating your financial wellness: 4 nervous system techniques - November 29, 2023
- What is peace really? - November 17, 2023
- The Power of Clarity, Love, and Support in Business Growth - October 5, 2023