The central theme of complex systems research is understanding the emergent macroscopic properties of a system from the interplay of its microscopic constituents. Here, we ask what conditions a complex network of microscopic dynamical units has to meet to permit stationary macroscopic dynamics, such as stable equilibria or phase-locked states. We present an analytical approach which is based on a graphical notation that allows rewriting Jacobi's signature criterion in an interpretable form. The derived conditions pertain to topological structures on all scales, ranging from individual nodes to the interaction network as a whole. Our approach can be applied to many systems of symmetrically coupled units. For the purpose of illustration, we consider the example of synchronization, specifically the (heterogeneous) Kuramoto model and an adaptive variant. Moreover, we discuss how the graphical notation can be employed to study isospectrality in Hermitian matrices. The results complete and extend the previous analysis of Do et al. [Phys. Rev. Lett. 108, 194102 (2012)].