Career Resilience 5: Network Value
Colleagues’ Bottom Line
In this article we’ll look at the concepts developing of career resilience through adding networking value to our Colleagues Bottom Line. If colleagues see value in knowing us, they will support us and build our career resilience without even knowing they’re doing it. Becoming invaluable in their working lives will pay dividends to you now and over the long term.
- Relationships: the power of many. The workplace and job market are all about relationships. Let’s face it, people hire people, companies don’t. People, not companies, come up with ideas. People, not organisations, make processes work. Even the most automated production lines need people to make them work well. So, in this people-driven world, we need to be able to fit in with those around us and help to build value; to them, the organisation and ourselves. Over the long term, those with strong interpersonal relationships will be far more likely to get chosen to be part of groups that get things done, or for leadership roles within the workplace . Strong networking at work is one of the strongest winning strategies for job security and career resilience.
- Internal networking: where the value lives. It’s important to develop mutually beneficial relationships with the people nearest us; in our departments and teams. Earn their respect and trust and they’ll become our Personal Brand sales team. Broader relationships across the organisation will extend our reputation further. Put yourself in line for new opportunities by getting to know those colleagues in power to enhance your career or those who can spot opportunities you might not see from your immediate position. Be curious about their work and show an interest in the opportunities they foresee on the horizon. Career resilience is strengthened by the breadth and depth of the relationships you form across the organisation. Let others enhance your Personal Brand and strengthen your career resilience
- External networking: spread the love. The external networks we develop will help to sustain our ambitions for bigger change, support growth to new horizons and enhance career resilience. Professional associations, clubs and networking sites (like LinkedIn) are great ways to promote our Personal Brands and identify new opportunities. So, of course, we should be going to events and join relevant groups. However, all the talk is just that… talk. Actions speak louder than words, so we should be getting more directly and personally involved. Practical steps can include recruiting mentors, offering mentoring others, supporting friends, colleagues and even casual business acquaintances in their projects. In return, they will be there to accept, support and inspire us during the hard times. They might just be the bridge to the next major opportunity. Career resilience comes from sustaining our networks wherever they may be.
- Get connected now: no time like the present. We know that strong connections and collaboration are good for business and our own career resilience. So we do it for the best of intentions. However, if we wait until there’s a crisis, or we’ve become desperate, our chances of success will be so much lower. Leaving contacts until they’re needed makes others doubt our motives and cynicism can creep in when we do reach out. Developing strong networks of positive relationships before we need them reduces the cynicism and engenders positive predisposition to collaborate. So, don’t wait until there’s crisis, but start now to extend our circles of contacts in a planned and methodical way. Career resilience starts now.
- Get Real: e-communication or real communication. Electronic media are a boon to modern society in so many ways but they have one serious drawback… they are reducing and limiting the prevalence of one-to-one, face-to-face, interaction. Communicating with people is an opportunity to build relationships with them, not only to transfer information. With all the forms of electronic communication available today, our conversations are becoming more and more impersonal and actually less effective. Texts, emails, voicemails and conferencing are allowing us to introduce gulfs in both time and geography between us and allowing us to avoid contact with each other. Making time to meet people in person, to look them in the eye and relate to them, will pay dividends. Of course the richness of the content with face-to-face is much, much higher but the simple act of investing time and effort to be with this person is hugely rewarding. So if we want to build real career resilience we need to get real with people.
Appreciate others: share the joy. When we show others that we recognise and appreciate their contributions in your work we deepen the bonds we have with them. Our own performance will increase, our networks will extend and our career resilience will strengthen even further.
- Value others’ presence – Interdependence is unavoidable and we do well to appreciate others’ contributions that directly or indirectly impact our work for good. Firstly, appreciation makes them feel glad that they helped you; it makes them more willing to help again; and even more likely to keep on supporting you positively. Neglecting the kind of value different members of the office are bringing risks alienation, resentment and resistance. Just try to get support from those guys. Negative opinions will only harm our job and career resilience.
- Value others’ work – Accepting and appreciating others’ work doesn’t make us any less capable or valuable. In fact, with the help of colleagues, we’ll be able to focus on our work and career more effectively because there someone else doing their job well. Being grateful of what others are doing for us, encourages them to do more of it and offers us even more learning opportunities.
- Value the team work – Team work is the key to the success of any project or organisation. Irrespective of how significant our own contribution is, it does not and cannot stand alone. We need to be interconnected in modern workplaces and teams are at the core of our own personal success. So embrace teamwork, open up to sharing ideas and work in collaboration. Understanding and using our team’s dynamics will get a more creative, more effective and more valuable outcome, usually quicker and at less cost. And the more teams that we can be part of, the more our reputation will grow. Isn’t it better to be known widely as the person that works well with others and gets things done, than the opposite; the stand-off loner that grabs all the attention for themselves? Teamwork builds our reputation and makes us more likely the one that stays and thrives during tough times. Our career resilience is magnified through the lens of other people’s eyes.
Trust your intuition: nix the naysayer. Our intuition about people can be a true asset in our business life. If it feels like someone is up to no good, they probably are. Our ‘feelings’ about people are based on subtle but powerful cues. All too often, we dismiss and undervalue out intuition because we can be precise about justifying it. The biggest giants in the business world will tell you that they rely heavily upon their ‘gut’. So should we. It’s natural, powerful and is part of our evolutionary makeup. This leads to three simple career resilience tactics
- Avoid the critics. The colleagues who are constantly trying to catch your mistakes. Those who only see a downside to your work and never offer constructive ideas for improvement. We can watch out for the sucking of air through the teeth, the folded arms and the slowly shaking head. We can stop their negativity by turning it around to them and asking what would make it better. How they can help to make it better? If left unchecked, they will undermine our career resilience in a heartbeat.
- Avoid the timewasters. Spot the colleagues who love to gossip and spread rumours. Such people tend to emphasise the negative things over the positive and one negative person or event can tear down months of motivation or reputation in minutes.
- Build clusters of positivity. Some personalities will work well together, but not all. Some people cannot or will not get on board. And we don’t need to spend an inordinate amount of time trying to convince them to join in. We can give them an opportunity to correct their negative attitudes, but if they persist, we can remove them from the group or project. There are not enough hours in the day to convert someone who has convinced themselves that they doesn’t want to follow the plan. Remember career resilience depends upon strong teamwork.
If you’re ready to develop your career and it’s resilience, here are three simple steps you can take to get started.
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