In the initial stages of your career, one of the most important things you can do is build a village of your own. We’re not talking about a college network, LinkedIn friends, or the people who you met one time at a conference. We’re referring to the relationships that will have a significant impact on your life over time - ones that can accelerate your path to a promotion, increase your visibility within an organization, and stretch you beyond your comfort zone into the leader you aspire to be.
No matter what stage you’re at in your career, one of the most important things you can do is build relationships. But which ones are most important to your future success? Here are five that will help you accelerate your path to a promotion, increase your visibility within an organization, and become the leader you aspire to be.
Mentor: Think of a mentor as the north star that will keep you on track when you’re feeling lost at work. They are the one person inside (or outside) of your organization who you can turn to for guidance — whether you are looking to expand your industry knowledge, navigate a difficult conversation, listen to feedback on a project, or get some encouragement when times are tough.
Sponsor: While mentors give you advice and perspective, sponsors advocate on your behalf (especially in front of other company leaders) and in some cases, directly bring you career opportunities.
Partner: A partner is an ally or peer who can serve as a sounding board to broaden your perspective. This relationship is fuelled by trust, a shared drive to succeed, and the recognition that you can do better together.
Competitor:Competition between peers is inevitable, and not always unhealthy. When used correctly, a friendly contest can inspire you to perform better, come up with new ideas, and get more done.
Mentee: Becoming a mentor will teach you how to bring out the best in others, recognize their strengths, give feedback, and coach. In turn, it will push you to do your own job better and strive for more.
Sometimes forming these relationships will happen randomly and without effort. But you can accomplish so much more if you are open and intentional about it. So, don’t leave things to chance.
Do you have a strong network?
How do you go about creating your network?
Fernandez, J. and Velasquez, L. (2021, June). 5 Relationships You Need to Build a Successful Career. Harvard Business Review.
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