One of the secrets of succeeding in the workplace is building strong alliances. No matter how seemingly good and experienced you are, or even if you hold a top position in an organization, time will come that you’ll need someone else’s help. This is where building alliances comes in handy.
Successful employees work hard to build themselves a network of friends in and out of work, that support each other towards success, instead of working in a vacuum trying to achieve success at the cost of each other’s trust- or job.
Here’s How You can Build Your Own Network of Allies
Make Long-Term Connections, Not Short-Term Friendships that Only Benefit You
You’re surrounded by so many different people. For managers, there are people who work in your team; for regular staff, you have peers working in the same level as you.
Consider these people as stakeholders—they are an important part of the work you do and can help you reach your professional goals faster. Find ways to help them, in any way you can. Know that one day, you will need their help, and many of these new friends will be happy to return the favor.
In emails look for potential misunderstandings or phrases that could be interpreted as sarcastic or offensive. When you’re having a conversation, it’s always better to listen more than blabbering about.
When you’re in an office party or networking event, remember that you’re just building your social skills so you should learn to read the room first, before you continue talking or making jokes that might end up embarrassing you.
If the person you’re talking to is no longer interested in the conversation, you’ll see their eyes glaze over you and they will look bored. If that’s the case, excuse yourself from the conversation and try again, this time with a better conversation topic, with someone else.
Select a Mentor
Now that you realize the need for alliances, you need to understand the value of these people to the work you do and the goal you have. You can help those in the same situation as you, and find wisdom from those with more experience.
Identify which of your managers or out of office connections can train you in one aspect of your work, then let that person know that you’re looking for a mentor. Of course, mentoring is also a give and take relationship, so find something you can do to make this arrangement worth their time. Maybe it’s a skill you have that they don’t, or an introduction to a friend with valuable knowledge or connections that your potential mentor might be interested in.
Grow Your Base
Continue to grow your network. Set up meetings with other departments and groups around you on a regular basis to build a culture of collaboration and mutual support. Introduce people with common interests and goals to see if they hit it off. Your friends will thank you for the introduction.
You know what they say, one way to succeed is to help others first. So if you know a recruiter who can help a friend looking for a job, go ahead and connect them.
Now that you already have people who have signified their support to help you, the only thing you have to do is work with them. Stop trying to work on your own vacuum. You won’t accomplish much if you work alone. Learn how to collaborate and work with others who have different backgrounds and skill sets as you do.