Think about the amount of time you spend at work or thinking about work each week. Has any of that time been spent building meaningful peer connections? If not, you probably feel less supported or underappreciated in your work environment.
Now, when it comes to building peer relationships, this doesn’t mean finding a best friend. It goes beyond that. At work, you want to surround yourself with people who strategically help to better your professional direction. One bonus to building these relationships is that, most likely, you’re going to be more engaged at work, leading to a more productive environment.
So, who exactly should you be seeking out?
The Cheerleader – Think of the person at work you go to when you need someone to make you feel good (or better). If you aren’t feeling appreciated, this person reminds you of the value you bring to your role and the company. What about if you need someone to vent to? Enter The Cheerleader. They are someone at work you can be your most vulnerable with and build confidence from.
The Mentor – Think of this person as your navigation system. They help point you in the right direction and guide you as you build your career. They teach you about the unwritten rules of your company or industry and are reliable, honest leaders. Conversations with them are meant to be challenging and help you grow. The Mentor is the type of person with a knack for molding others.
The Challenger – Remember the cheerleader? This person is on the other side of the spectrum. They push you to a professional level you couldn’t get to without them. They ask you tough questions, making you think differently and abandon your comfort zone. There wouldn’t be a successful Boston Red Sox team without the New York Yankees and vice versa. Because of this, the challenger could be someone you might view as a competitor.
The Champion – Similar to the cheerleader, this person pumps you up but in a different way. Think of this relationship as one similar to a salesperson and the prospect they are selling to. Part of the salesperson’s job is to find a champion of the product or service they are selling. The Champion then does the internal selling for them. So, this type of person in your work world is someone who buys into your ideas and advocates on your behalf.
The Teacher – This role might seem similar to The Mentor, but there’s more of a technical direction given by this person. The teacher is up on the latest industry trends and educates you on the technical sides of your profession. Their knowledge goes deeper and gives you more of an edge in your industry from an informative standpoint.
The Collaborative – Think of this person as the one you would most likely want to co-found a company with. This person isn’t necessarily your work best friend, nor should they be, but they are someone you seek out for work-related situations. They are the type of person who balances you out, complementing your personality and work style. A simple example is someone good with numbers and analytics finding someone who’s good with words and producing copy. A partnership that works well is one where both people are more successful working together than if they work apart.
These types of peer relationships might develop organically or sometimes can develop by way of strategy. However they are formed, these connections help professionals grow and expand into the best version of themselves from a career standpoint, and in some cases, a personal standpoint too.
And what’s better than that?
Which types of peer relationships have you found to be most helpful in your career? Start the conversation on LinkedIn and check out Do You Know When to Turn Down a Job Offer?