How A Leader’s Network and Community Matter

How A Leader’s Network and Community Matter

By Janet Kendall White

In many business and entrepreneurship programs, the topic of community and/or networking come up and are taught as key components of success. “It’s not what you know but whom you know”. How important is it for all leaders? Just like it can make or break a business owner, the same holds true for leaders that are employees in organizations.

In a previous Soar to Success article, I shared how entrepreneurial mindsets are critical for leaders. Community, developing a network is one of those mindsets.

I am not sure where I would be without a couple of the communities that I am part of. Some of them last a chapter of a person’s life and some of them our lifetime. As a leader who are you allowing to influence you? Be your sounding board? Be there when you need a shoulder or hand up? Be your advocate for the next position?

Network plays a critical role:

  • In a leader’s progression – connecting with and learning from people who have been where you want to go
  • In a leader’s development – content experts both in soft skills and technical skills and people willing to hold the mirror up that care more about where you want to go than concern of loss of the relationship
  • In a leader’s support – people you can lean on and let your guard down with
  • In a leader’s mobility – An advocate in your organization that will speak on your behalf and has more influence than you do


It’s important to constantly be growing, nurturing, and maintaining both an Internal and external network.  The time to start is early and not stop throughout your life. Most of us learn the hard way that when we are comfortable, happy and think that we have a solid network we realize that we have stopped developing community in certain areas.

Sometimes change happens to us and at other times we realize that it is time to change our businesses or positions and we find ourselves needing that network. You may have plenty of time to seek out people and try and make connections but sometimes it happens suddenly. Just like an athlete, law enforcement, military or emergency personnel needs to practice, practice and practice prior to the event, the emergency or situation where their skills are needed, so holds true for developing your network. You can’t do it overnight. It takes investment of your time, energy, skill, and heart to develop a valuable network. The time to start is now regardless of your situation. It is good to continually take stock and add it to our annual and quarterly goals. Take stock of current state and compare that to where you want it to be and develop plans. It may be in our personal situations that we have let that network stagnate or it may be professionally. Both are important and we will need them at some point.

For a free consult on how to audit and build your network and community reach out to

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