You have a close friend or significant other to talk to about personal issues that may be bothering you, but who can you go to when you need to talk to someone at work? When you are feeling down and uncertain of what steps to take next. Do you have an alliance at work that will give you honest feedback and let you vent when that is all you need? We all need to form relationships with key individuals that will offer us encouragement, push our limits, and stand by us even if we fail. The work environment should be no different. In fact, since this is where you make your living, it is just as important that you find your alliances.
I was meeting with a client and he stated that everyone in his group always gets along. “We are all on the same team.” However, when I asked him who sat next to whom at meetings, who went to lunch together, who seemed to group together when a project needed to be done, his answer changed. Of course we should all be on the same team working for the same common goal. This is a good thing. But, we are also human and by human nature some people just naturally migrate to one person or a group of people over another. The next question I asked was, would you go to the same people that you have lunch with to provide career advice and guidance? The answer was “probably not”.
What I am suggesting is that although you may have good friends at work make sure you also have alliances with those that can help you advance in your career. Find yourself a mentor, coach and advocate that you trust, that you can look up to for both their knowledge and skills but also for what they are willing to share with you. This same person does not have to have all the answers and should be willing to direct you to some one that does have the skills and knowledge in the areas where they may be lacking or not have as much strength. No one is good at everything. Remember the saying “A jack of all trades and a master of none.” You want to make sure that your alliance is willing to tell you when they don’t know something and then work with you to find someone that does. One of the greatest compliments you can give is asking someone to be your mentor. Keep your eyes open for that person or persons that can be your greatest alliance and watch yourself grow.