In the concluding chapter of my book, Net Work, I focused on “The Leader’s Net Work.” From reading about and talking to leaders of networks, I arrived at the following set of prescriptions:
- Network intentionally (high performers are those who pay attention to their personal networks)
- Practice network stewardship (you can’t manage a network, you can only manage its context)
- Leverage technology (see below).
- Build the capacity for net work (ensure that others become aware of and and develop skills)
- Use the network lens and net work tools to enhance the lives and contributions of individuals and the collective power of the network
These change, of course, each time I give a talk or think about leadership and networks. I’m currently working with Leadership for a New Era (a research initiative of The Leadership Learning Community) as well as other networks to explore more deeply this topic. My most recent thinking, part of a collaborative effort, was posted as a guest blog “How can we prepare leaders to work in a networked world?” on Beth Kanter‘s site.
This included the very important notion of network literacy by which I mean “the language and tools [leaders] need to be able to discern and describe network activity, the insights they need to understand network structure, and an appreciation for the vital yet often subtle tasks of managing a network’s context.” I failed to acknowledge, in that post, that the insight into the need for literacy came from a grand brainstorming conversation with Grady McGonagil, whose recent work and research with the Bertelsmann Foundation was presented recently at an International Leadership Association webinar, Leadership Development in the US: Best-Practice Principles & Patterns.
And, speaking of leveraging technology, I’ll be spending most of next week at the Enterprise 2.0 Conference in Boston. My proposal (with Jessica Lipnack) for a panel discussion on the impact of social media on leadership and how leadership styles didn’t make the cut, so I’m going to spend a lot of time listening for people to talk about leadership and interviewing people I think may have a lot to say. I’ll be blogging frequently.