Networking -- that dreaded word. We've all been victims of those awkward events complete with name tag stickers, boxed wine, and forced conversations. Leaders are expected to continuously network to build relationships and grow the brand. Yet for many, it just doesn't come naturally. You'll be hard pressed to find someone that enjoys networking, myself included.

However, not all networking is created equal. In fact, you can do it effectively without stepping outside of your office. Internal networking is going beyond your normal scope to build relationships with colleagues within your organization, creating a positive team culture.

Cultivating the relationships you need within your organization will help you accomplish your job at the highest level. So the next time you find yourself in an overwhelming situation, you can turn to your team for support.

Here are three tips to start internal networking and start building that important

1. Support other employees efforts.

If you are continually hiding out at your desk, you are missing out on the opportunity of creating strong relationships with your team and other employees within your company.

So it's time to ditch your desk and start offering support. There will always be the opportunity to lend a hand or give advice to your colleagues. By taking the time to do this, you will strengthen your relationships with other departments, earn respect, and in return receive valuable help in the future.

2. Show up.  

A strong culture won't exist without their leader present. That means showing up. When employees don't relate to their boss, they start to feel like their work doesn't matter.

While no one is asking you to be a social butterfly, it is important to participate in creating a positive work environment. In order to be a well-respected leader, you need to show that you care.

Sitting in the lunchroom, taking part in the office potluck, or joining happy hour are all forms of internal networking. Developing genuine relationships within your office will offer you an incredible amount of insight that you can't learn on a resume or decipher through an email. From innovative thinkers to natural born leaders, the only way to find out is to show up.

3. Be a connector.

It's a common misconception that leaders need to do it all when it comes to big clients and fast deadlines. Having a team on your side and being connected with leaders in other departments will make getting through the tough times a breeze.

If you want your team to be connected, then you need to make an effort to be a connected leader. A great way to get different departments to communicate with each other is to each month have a separate department plan a lunch for everyone across all departments. This is an excellent opportunity for growth and trust between you and your colleagues.

Published on: Nov 29, 2018
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.