As we are leading change efforts, many of our best resources for reinforcing the new normal come from other leaders who are engaged in the same work. Building support networks can help you, personally and professionally, to sustain the changes you are trying to make.
I spent most of this week at the 2014 fall Academic and Student Affairs Leadership Conference. It showed the importance of getting together with peers who understand the issues we are dealing with. It reminded us that we are not in this alone and, more important, provided a chance to problem-solve together, exchange ideas, and share resources.
It’s important to take advantage of opportunities you might have to attend conferences like this one. But there are many other things you can do to build your networks.
- Connect with people in other institutions who do the same sort of work you do. If the distance is too far to meet in person, periodic phone conversations can let you check in and support each other’s change efforts.
- If you are an experienced leader, consider reaching out to a younger colleague. Providing mentorship can be a positive experience for both of you.
- If you are a new leader, reach out to your more experienced peers. Seeking a mentor can feel intimidating, but an easy way to start is to ask a respected colleague to meet you for coffee and come with a couple of specific questions about things you have seen them do well.
How have your professional networks helped you to sustain change efforts?
Dee Anne Bonebright