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Friday, March 22 , 2019, 12:38 pm | A Few Clouds 59º


Karen Dwyer: As a Leader, Don’t Stop at the Top

Networking is a vital tool in continuing to achieve goals and improve your skills

Crossing the bridge from an entry-level position to an upper-management role can be a long process, and those who reach their leadership destination get there through hard work and dedication. Many also achieve their executive-level dreams through networking with colleagues and professional organizations, and connecting with everyone and every opportunity that could possibly help them reach their aspirations of becoming a business leader.

Karen Dwyer
Karen Dwyer

Networking is vital to achieve leadership in today’s market and continue to be effective as a leader. Leaders who continually network have access to resources that can help them solve problems and gain perspective and fresh ideas that will benefit themselves, their teams and their organization. Those who choose not to network once they achieve success miss out on great opportunities to become better leaders.

Whether you’ve held a leadership role in your organization for many years or are newly crowned with upper-management status, you may have stopped networking, thinking it has nothing left to offer. If you’ve stopped investing in your network, it’s important to pick it back up. Check out these key tips to help you in your job — no matter how high up you are on the career ladder.

Join multiple organizations. You’ve heard the statement “never stop learning.” Well, this couldn’t be more true. Networking with fellow colleagues at conferences or social events can keep you informed and up to date with trends in your field.

But don’t stop at groups that pertain only to your industry. Join other clubs or organizations that interest you outside your scope of employment. The more you know, the more your leadership will improve. Opening your eyes to other job niches just might give you some bright ideas to help you succeed in the future.

Mingle with everyone. Whether you do this within your company or at networking events, make sure you talk to everyone — not just upper management. Talking with other leaders can help you learn new management styles, give you inspiration and provide you with a sounding board for advice.

Don’t limit yourself to just the leaders in your company. Meet with leaders outside your company who see things from someone else’s view. It’s always good to get an outside perspective to cover every angle of an issue and gain new insight. Also, speak with and listen to people who are not in management. This will help you get an idea of what people who aren’t in upper management value in a leader, some of their concerns and what kind of leaders they like to work for. To hear the unfiltered thoughts of individuals not in management positions, it might be best to talk to people outside of your company.

Join a committee. Don’t just be a fly on the wall. Try running for a position on the board of an organization. Even though you’re a leader in your company, this shouldn’t stop you from becoming a leader in your community. This will not only increase your credentials, but it will give you an opportunity to give back to the organizations that helped you in your leadership quest by volunteering your time and expertise to help others in your market.

The truth of the matter is, no matter how far up the career ladder you climb, people are observing you and will follow you as long as they believe in you as a leader. This means that it’s important to continue to grow in your knowledge. Networking may just be the right opportunity that can help you become the best leader you can be.

— Karen Dwyer is owner of Express Employment Professionals, 9 W. Figueroa St. Click here to contact her or call 805.965.6900.

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