Everyone knows that building a network of relationships across your organization and industry can connect you with hidden information, resources and opportunities. Having a great network makes it easier to get your job done, and guarantees you'll never need to search for a job again (it will find you).
Is it time to give your network a tune-up? Consider building relationships with five key types of people.
1. The Connector
The connector is a true ‘people person’ who knows (and has great relationships with) everyone. They put others at ease. This person loves to opens doors & make introductions. Watch them, and learn!
2. The Informational Powerhouse
This person is like a human ‘grapevine’. They love to keep a finger on the pulse, and stay current on organizational issues. They filter useful information from gossip or ‘noise’, and know about changes before they occur. Seek them out when you need to know about new trends, ideas, projects, opportunities, etc, before they become official.
3. The Influencer
The influencer is not necessarily a high-level or high-profile leader, but they have a natural ability to make things happen. They get people on board with ideas and initiatives, gain agreement and collaboration from teams, and they have a voice with senior leadership. Their early support can guarantee the success of your initiatives, and their advocacy can get you noticed.
4. The Senior Leader Sponsor
These are your manager’s peers, and above, and they have the power to dramatically accelerate your career. Interacting with them frequently can help you align your work effort with your organization’s strategic goals. They have the ability to single you out for recognition, and connect you to special projects, task forces and committees, and new opportunities for growth
5. The Mentor
Need I say more?
The mentor is a special category of senior leader sponsor.
While most women rely on their mentor to advise them on how to navigate situations at work, consider asking your mentor to give you honest feedback and critique on how you are doing, and how you come across. Many of the senior-level women I coach can trace their career advancement back to a turning point, where a mentor advised them on something they needed to be doing differently.
I often observe men using their mentors differently than women do -- they are more proactive about asking their mentor to sponsor them. Consider asking your mentor to actively open doors, and connect you with opportunities.