Network leader competencies

June 8, 2008 at 2:58 am 2 comments

Kim Photo -- Green gold concreteI have a new (well, expanded really) role at work. So I thought I’d see what you might know that could help me. I’m moving into HR with this new role and will be responsible for network leaders. The exact details of the role don’t matter as they’re being worked out. But what I have to do is come up with Network Leader competencies. These network leaders will be heading up multi-disciplinary networks, mainly lawyers. So here’s what I’ve dreamed up so far:

  • Building capacity – spotting talent within the team; providing opportunities to move to other teams; understanding the base, mid and high-level competencies required for a profession (ie lawyers); professionally developing team members; coaching/mentoring.
  • Building sustainability – understanding that the network, like a garden, has to be nurtured and cared for; building in learning opportunities that will attract and retain talented people; succession planning; spotting cross-network opportunities.
  • Adaptive leadership – understanding that the network leader isn’t the hero with expertise; leadership is distributed throughout the network and another leader may emerge in a given situation who can better handle the specific issues; leader as facilitator, guide, mentor but understanding that there are times when a leader must be directional; understanding styles of leadership within the team. Also self-awareness, Emotional Intelligence.
  • Knowledge leveraging – the usual stuff around KM including AARs, narratives and so on.
  • Building relationships – connecting people within the team and beyond; boundary spanner; building strategic partnerships.

There would also be Organisational competencies like Communication, Strategic Thinking, Negotiation, Teamwork and so on but I need to figure out specific Network Leader competencies. There should only be 4 or 5 specific to Network Leaders. Any thoughts?

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Stephen Matthews  |  February 18, 2009 at 6:55 pm

    Check out Crosby & Bryson (2005), they suggest eight main leadership capabilities:
    1) Leadership in contest: understanding the social, political and economic ‘givens’;
    2) Personal leadership: understanding oneself and others;
    3) Team leadership: building productive work groups;
    4) Organisational leadership: nurturing humane and effective organisations;
    5) Visionary leadership: creating and communicating shared meaning in forums;
    6) Political leadership: making and implementing decisions in legislative, executive and administrative arenas;
    7) Ethical leadership: adjudicating disputes and sanctioning conducts in courts;
    8) Policy entrepreneurship: co-ordinating leadership tasks over the course of policy change cycles.
    So, not so different to what you’ve got!

    Determining what competencies are required for networks can become an all-consuming task as networks swiftly become a catch-all concept with no boundaries! The best I can suggest, to focus on network competencies, is five distinctive leadership themes outlined by Alexander et al, (2001): systems thinking, vision-based leadership, collateral leadership – not quite but almost distributed leadership, power-sharing and process-based leadership.

    I hope these two references can give you some useful pointers.

    Reply
  • 2. thinkingshift  |  February 19, 2009 at 12:57 am

    Thx Stephen, this is really most useful indeed!
    Kim

    Reply

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