Let’s face facts; few people make it to the highest rungs of the leadership ladder without being an effective networker. However, once you reach the upper echelons, the networking game often changes. Instead of focusing on how to advance their careers, they often adjust to meet other objectives, such as establishing their personal brand, maintaining their reputations and setting up their teams for success.
As Erick Tai, the co-founder and head of engineering for Reflektive, put it, “Executive-networking is less about the individual and more about learning for, and empowering, the broader team and common purpose. It’s about honing an approach, a mentality or philosophy to support the team’s success; executive-networking is more purpose-driven rather than skills-oriented.”
If you’re interested in learning how to network like some of the best tech executives, here are some tips to get you started.
Look Outside Your Immediate Circle
If you want to keep learning and growing as an executive, you’ll be hard pressed to find a mentor within your current business. Often, you’ll need to reach out to other professionals in different organizations to find usable guidance from someone else who has achieved a similar rank. This is an excellent approach for improving your skills or learning from someone else’s experiences, as there is often something to learn from anyone whose career has progressed to the point of becoming a top IT leader in their workplace.
Get Face Time
Most networking contacts are maintained digitally, especially when both parties are busy executives. But making time to meet in person is critical to the maintenance of the relationship and gives you the opportunity to engage in real-time and obtain valuable feedback.
Ideally, using meetups or similar networking events is ideal, as they tend to be less restrictive than formal event panels. However, any time spent communicating face to face is valuable, so making an effort to attend conferences where other tech executives will be present is often wise.
It’s Not a Sale
Top-level executives understand that networking isn’t always about closing a deal; it’s about relationships. Approaching others with a sales-oriented mentality isn’t going to help you learn and grow, and may result in your alienation from circles that could benefit you in ways that don’t immediately result in dollars in the bank.
Give as Much as You Receive
Whether you are communicating with a mentor or an equal, networking is always a two-way street. In most cases, you both have something to gain from the relationship if everyone gives freely of themselves. Plus, this approach makes the relationship valuable to both parties, whereas a one-way connection can become burdensome to the person who is doing the majority of the giving.
At MindFinders, we understand the pressures many executives face on a daily basis. If you would like to make the hiring of new team members easier, our skilled professionals can connect you with top candidates in their fields. Schedule some time to speak with one of our recruitment specialists today and see how our services can alleviate the strain of finding new employees for your vacant positions.
Written by Tim Booker, President and CEO of MindFinders, with over 20 years of industry experience.