Networking and building relationships are a huge part of anyone’s career, no matter the industry and if you are one year in or a workplace veteran. These relationships don’t just apply to the connections you have on LinkedIn or the people you meet with at a conference. These are the formidable relationships you create during your career that challenge you to be the best professional version of yourself and give you the confidence to travel outside your comfort zone to be better.
If you want to showcase what you can bring to the workplace and find success in that world, here are 5 relationships you need to develop and nurture along the way.
- The Mentor – What’s better than finding someone more seasoned in a role that holds important significance in your development as a professional? Mentors are the utility player when it comes to what you might face along your career path. Whether that’s needing to have a difficult conversation, looking for feedback on a project, navigating a less-than-ideal situation, or wanting to expand your industry knowledge, a good mentor can provide guidance on any of the above. They also give you more insight into the unwritten rules of your company or industry.
- The Competitor – Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Just as a company keeps an eye on competitors in the market and the success of their strategies, individually, you should look to people in the same space. Competition and rivalries are healthy when focusing on achieving something and not taking something away from someone else. A competitor can be a person you work with closely or someone entirely outside of your company. Choose your competitors wisely. You want a competitor with integrity, a win-win mentality, and who will push you to be your best.
- The Colleague – This relationship is based on trust and is fueled by a shared passion to succeed. This type of relationship is most closely tied to being an athletic competitor in a team sport. A colleague or teammate will be there to pick up your slack when needed and give you a different perspective on achieving something. Having a relationship with a colleague doesn’t mean you need to be best friends, but you both need to make each other better. The type of colleague you want to choose to develop a strong work relationship with will be someone who fills in the gaps in your weaknesses. For example, are you someone who struggles with data? Find a colleague who excels in analytics.
- The Mentee – Teaching keeps your brain fresh with access to the latest information and reinforces your own study skills, furthering your knowledge. Having a mentee can be as formal or as casual as you choose, from something as simple as helping a colleague with a one-off project to something as in-depth as daily strategy sessions or frequent one-on-ones with that person. Mentoring improves your communication skills while developing management and leadership qualities.
Relationships within the workforce develop in different ways. Some grow naturally, others need more effort to build. So, you shouldn’t sit back and just wait for these relationships to begin, work on them, and don’t leave things to chance.
Professionals at any age and stage need exposure to a variety of people to impact their careers positively. This helps someone become more well-versed in their craft and teaches them how to interact with others most effectively in the workforce.
What professional relationships have you found most beneficial for your career? Join the conversation on LinkedIn and check out 7 Ways to Build a Diverse Team.