Adaptability and agility have been widely credited with helping businesses that have endured over the past year and a half, but if pressed, most leaders would add another essential element: a strong network. Having a diverse group of people from a variety of backgrounds, industries and areas of expertise to lean on can help any leader navigate their organization successfully through difficult circumstances, while they, in turn, help the members of their network with their own knowledge and abilities.

This system of working together to offer mutual support has been called the “relationship economy.” It’s the recognition that every person in a network has unique strengths to bring to the table to solve problems or build better communities and that each member of the network stands a better chance of surviving and thriving when all members help each other. Below, 12 members of Business Journals Leadership Trust share essential tips to help leaders and professionals build and maintain a strong network.

5. Offer and accept support.

Nothing great is accomplished alone. Reaching out to our networks, connecting and asking, “How can I help you?” or, “What is your biggest challenge right now?” are ways we can support one another. Often it’s hard for us to ask for help; however, the power of networks, friends and people who are experts at the things we are not gives us the ability to solve problems and grow. – Aviva Ajmera, SoLVE KC