Management skills: five ways to network will help you move forward


If you want to impress the boss, you’ll need to engage the leadership team and make sure the board is on board with your business digital transformation plans.

While the work you do in your day-to-day job is essential in building your reputation, digital leaders can also strengthen their engagement skills through things they do outside of the immediate workplace. Here are five tips to boost your network.

1. Broaden your experiences to strengthen your knowledge

Trainline CTO Mark Holt says creating experiences is crucial for any IT professional. He explains to his staff the importance of going out and engaging with the wider tech community, including passing out a flow of event invitations.

“You hear what people are talking about and you hear what’s interesting in the industry at large. It’s just about creating that network and creating this community of other people that you can have a conversation with,” he said.

SEE: Guide to becoming a champion of digital transformation (TechRepublic Premium)

Holt gives “the nightmare scenario” for any IT manager with a security incident. In this situation, the technical managers need to be able to tap into their networks and phone four or five different people and ask them, “Can you help me?” ”

“Safety is a very extreme example, but I think success is making sure that you take advantage of the experience from as many different places as possible. At Trainline, we regularly come to the end of the management meeting and we will ask someone to contact another company that works in a similar field, ”he says.

For example, Holt holds a non-executive position within the Camelot Lottery Company, which has been very helpful in developing his wider experiences. “It’s a great way to think about your own beliefs,” he says.

2. Take on external roles to create a new perspective

Hany Choueiri, Data Manager at Aldermore Bank, holds a number of positions in the industry outside of his daily job. He says these external roles are essential when it comes to developing the leadership skills of senior executives.

“I think the most important thing is to build your network of contacts,” he says. “From people in the industry, you learn a lot about the field you are in. You learn so much by being involved in things outside, especially when it comes to international organizations.”

Choueiri is a board member of the Global Legal Entity Identifier Foundation, the non-profit standards specialist. He says there are “huge benefits” to connecting with your peers, especially when it comes to creating a new perspective in the boardroom.

“I think it’s essential to have external peers to talk to or to be involved in associations or boards of directors,” he says. “This means that I speak internally with members of the top management, I can bring back that external expertise and I can quote what someone else is doing in another organization or another sector.”

3. Go out and meet as many people as possible

Mark Gannon, director of information and business change solutions at Sheffield City Council, says smart digital leaders make sure they keep learning, even once they reach the top. Gannon says developing experiences outside of daytime work has always been important to him, both as a full-time CIO and in his stint as a consultant before joining the board.

“There are the basic things about just going out there and understanding your customers and spending time talking to them. The advice was interesting because it gave me the opportunity to look at- beyond my own experience and seeing what other organizations were doing. I think it’s really important to constantly learn, “he says.

Gannon suggests that his determination to develop new skills may have something to do with earning a doctorate before joining the IT profession. His interest in education continues to this day – Gannon is a school parent principal.

“Being a governor is interesting and going out and engaging with other networks in the city is something I do a lot. We have developed a cross-community network, called dotSHF, which explains how we bring together the work done by independent traders and private and public sector organizations around digital, ”says Gannon.

“I learned a lot by working with private sector companies and going to meetings and things like that. You meet people and you learn so much by going there.

4. Be clear about what you want to achieve through your external activities

Sharm Manwani, executive professor of IT and digital leadership at Henley Business School, gives advice to IT managers considering taking on extracurricular activities: “Be clear about why you are doing it. He thinks there are two main reasons for taking on additional roles.

“Do you want something that is completely the opposite of what you normally do in your day-to-day work, so it forces you to think almost sideways and outside the box, or do you see it as a way to share and to communicate your knowledge through a different audience, and therefore potentially opening up different opportunities? “

Manwani says there are a multitude of activities that can expand the skills of an executive. Most of these experiences are useful because they make leaders think about engagement in refreshing ways. Manwani is a former CIO and believes conferences are a great way to develop your leadership experiences outside of work.

“We’re always looking for speakers who offer good case studies, especially in the new digital world,” he says. “Whether it’s its schools or its universities, going to class and sharing some of your knowledge and experience, and engaging with the students, is a great way to learn. “

5. Work in different areas to improve your communication skills

Steve Otto, CTO at The R&A, says developing an experience outside of daily work improves your communication skills. In his role as a technology leader for the governing body of golf, Otto uses big data to manage the sport. He says being able to talk about complicated details in a straightforward way is crucial.

“When you explain to a board why it should do something, you don’t expect people to know the kind of deep roots of math when you find yourself in a situation. I think working in a lot of different fields has helped me work on my communication skills, ”he says.

Prior to joining The R&A in 2004, Otto worked at NASA Langley in the United States and as a senior lecturer at the University of Birmingham. Otto still teaches at the institution and holds an honorary chair in mathematics. Her experiences in the classroom help her return to the workplace.

“You don’t want to blind people with the science, but you want to make sure they can understand it. Coming from a lecturing background, the most successful lecturers are those who best understand their field. I think working in different areas has focused on how to create an understanding of your work is all about communication, ”he says.


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