No one does it alone. Most successful individuals point to the strength of their support network as one determining factor in their journey to career success.
Whether a formal or informal network, it is necessary to build a community of people who can help you move forward in your career.
You most likely won’t find every ideal characteristic in one person or one group to support, mentor and push you to be your best. Ideally, your support network will include individuals from a variety of backgrounds, with different life experiences and personalities.
You can put together a network of support that can become a positive influence in your quest to reach your goals.
But what happens if your support group stops being effective? What if you’ve outgrown them or have changed your mind as to what ‘success’ means to you? How can you determine if your support group is building you up or bringing you down?
Evaluating the effectiveness of your support group and those you surround yourself with is essential in determining the quality of their support. One of the best ways to ensure that your network is building rather than dismantling is to seek out the right individuals from the beginning.
Who should be in your network?
#1. Look for people you trust
You should have people who you can trust to keep your confidence about business and personal matters, without worrying if they are gossiping about you.
#2. Individuals in similar positions
Finding people who can identify with your struggles and challenges is key. One of the most powerful moments in support happen when someone identifies with your struggle because they’ve been in the same situation.
#3. People who are in different industries or departments
Your support network should provide you with a diverse. It is helpful to have outsiders who can look at situations with a different point of view to help offer advice and insight.
#4. Leaders in your field
A mentor can be an invaluable asset in a support network. They can provide guidance and growth assistance as you move forward in your journey toward success. In many cases, they’ve walked through the same struggles you may be facing and can provide encouragement and direction.
#5. Individuals who aren’t afraid to give an honest opinion
Your support group should be about giving you encouragement and cheering you on. But it must also include people who are willing to say hard things for your own good. Look for someone who isn’t afraid to tell you something you won’t like.
Who Should Not Be in Your Network?
Just as important as knowing who you should look for is knowing who you should avoid. There are some people who don’t belong in a support network.
#1. Individuals who consistently tear others down
You want people who are supportive of other team members and co-workers. Avoid people who make a point of ridiculing or demeaning others, including you!
#2. People you know you can’t trust
Have you heard the latest workplace gossip from someone? Chances are good that if they’re telling you someone else’s inside information, they’ll share your story with others as well.
Creating a support group is essential to success. Filling your network with individuals who will build you up can ensure that you are getting the maximum benefit from your network. Who can you invite into your support network?
Michele Bailey is president and CEO of Blazing Agency and My Big Idea™. These two lines of business work congruently to support her clients’ success.