The extent to which you get your personal power from your network of contacts, associates, and friends. Of growing importance within this type of power is the quality of the relationships.
For this type of power to be useful, you need to be operating in a complex environment or in an organisation where the challenges are tough (or both!). It is not sufficient to simply know the names of people, you have to have developed a relationship whereby both sides are receptive to offering help when needed.
If everyone knows everyone, all Network Power will do is to help you get your job done. To be powerful, you need to have access to receptive people whom others cannot reach easily.
Strengths: People with high scores for Network Power are aware that the people they know are a strong basis for personal power and, as a result, make time for working with a wide variety of people, may well be good at networking and will know the value of personal contacts and relationships. They may have the additional power of being able to make connections and introductions which are of great value to other people.
Limitations: If Network Power is over-developed or over-relied upon, high scorers may appear to be overly social and therefore too focused on the world of people and not paying sufficient attention to doing the work. There is also the possibility that relationships may be perceived as lacking depth. They may even be considered a distraction or overbearing, and should they have adversaries, then it may be used against them to undermine their power.
Someone who models Network Power will…
- know a lot of people around the organisation.
- appear confident and comfortable in social settings.
- be able to “work the room”.
- ask sincere questions about others’ outside interests.
- make contacts and connections for other people.
- use their network to gain political intelligence.
- attend work-based social events frequently.
- make others feel special.
- enjoy getting to know new contacts.
- have lots of topics on which to “small talk”.
- Attend a networking course.
- Look for interesting groups or networks to join.
- Focus on going to meetings to build your network, as well as to do good business.
- Actively “recruit” influential people into your network.
- Value and pay attention to the social activities in the workplace.
- Sign up for the company conference and use the breaks for networking with new people.
- Ensure that you have contacts in all the organisational departments. Be systematic about this if you need to.
- Acquire contacts at as many organisational levels as possible, aim high up the hierarchy as you can.
- Actively acquire one new contact each day. Have your business cards at hand.
- Challenge any negative assumptions you may hold about networking.
- Consider online networking opportunities, but remember the power is in the face-to-face contact.
- If you can’t network with a key person directly, connect in with the people who can.
- Get a contact management process that works for you.
- Online networking forums are fine, but the most important aspect is to get out there!