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network. You need to think about the overall structure of your relationships, and where you are positioned, in relation to the position of others in the network. Are you connected to people that are very central, that have many other connections? These can act like brokers, meaning they can connect you to areas of the network that otherwise you wouldn't be able to connect to. Managing Your Network As a leader, managing professional networks does not just mean managing your own network, but also facilitating the relationships amongst your followers. Don’t get me wrong, I do not mean micro managing your team. Facilitating the relationships amongst your team is focusing on creating an environment that allows people to be effective, to get all the social support and the social resources that they need to be an effective member of the team and really make a good contribution. Many companies nowadays do this systematic network analysis to understand what the informal work networks are in the workplace in their organization. By so doing, they identify those who are informally in their networks, and get to identify gaps and weaknesses in their network. As a leader, this is something you want to focus on. You need to be able to understand how you can facilitate connections that might not naturally be happening, but that you think are really important for your organization or team. want densely interconnected networks, because they create a lot of constraint on how we behave and how we think, because there is group pressure for conformity. He argued that the value in a network comes from open structures, and that members in the inner group are connected to others As you do this analysis, the big concern that nobody else knows. This means that is what kind of network creates value for they are bridging what he calls structural your organization or the team. holes, which are parts of the social fabric in an organization where there is no other There are two diametrically opposed connections. views on what actually creates value in networks. One view comes from James Rambert said that bridging those holes Samuel Coleman, who argued that could bring in many fresh ideas that lead interconnections in a network is what to serendipity, inspiration, creativity and creates value. This means that a leader innovation in a team. If you were to follow should be keen to ensure that everybody this school of thought as a leader, you would is almost connected to everybody else in not encourage people to focus on the people the network. around them, but rather encourage them to go all out to make new connections. The benefit of this density would be that people gain a lot of knowledge about each I would think that for a leader, the big other, and they learn to trust each other question would be how to balance the two as they gain more knowledge. It is easier schools of thought, as each sound beneficial for them to coordinate their behavior to in a way. In my opinion, getting a formula support each other and that ultimately to combine both would ultimately get you is what creates value. If leaders were to the best results. follow that, they would encourage people to get to know each other with the people George Mbithi is a Communications and that they interact with a lot as best as they Public Relations professional who has a keen can, to create these densely interconnected eye on Authentic Leadership. He has worked clusters. in mainstream media, the private sector, as well as in the development sector. You can A complete opposite view comes from reach him via mail on: Mbithig@gmail.com. Rambert, who argues that you do not