SmartBrief is partnering with Big Think to create a weekly video spotlight in SmartBrief on Leadership called “VIP Corner: Video Insights Powered by Big Think.” This week, we’re featuring Linda Hill, a professor of business administration at Harvard Business School.
At their core, organizations are like political entities, and managing a network of peers does not mean just spending time on LinkedIn, according to Linda Hill, a professor of business administration at the Harvard Business School. Instead, it involves managing the political dynamics associated with all aspects of organizational life.
“For sure, one very specific piece of that puzzle is [to ask], ‘Who am I dependent upon to get my job done?,’ ” Hill said. The higher up in an organization a leader is, the more dependencies there are. Leaders must consider whether or not they have built up the right sort of relationships with those people in their network.
“Do they trust me? Do we have mutual expectations? Can I influence them? Can they influence me? If the answers are no to those questions, then you have not built the right kind of relationships,” Hill said. She recommends periodically stepping back and making an honest assessment of all the people within your network. Making a list can be helpful.
In general, leaders need to spend the time managing the professional relationships within their network. Otherwise, “your team cannot be successful no matter how wonderful the culture of that team is and how much time you’ve worked to get that right, because your team will not have the resources it needs to get done what it needs to get done,” she added.