By E. Elizabeth Carter
Your career journey is not just about the path you set out for yourself but also for the people who you interact with along the way. The issue is that many people think this is a solo adventure but the most successful people realize that their “tribe” is extremely important for them to advance in their career – and their life!
This group does not only have to consist of people who you work with like colleagues and bosses but also other influencers in your life. Mentors and executive coaches provide valuable assistance because they are not bound by inner company rituals, rules, etc. Instead they can serve as an objective sounding board to you while you define your goals and the methods on how to achieve them. Keep in mind that mentors do not necessarily have to be older than you. They are subject matter experts so they give advice usually on a particular topic.
Other members of your tribe could be colleagues in your industry such as manufacturing or retail. Others could hold similar functional responsibilities like finance or IT. All of these individuals have their own networks that you can leverage as you navigate your path. They also can provide you invaluable information about the trends, issues, and problems they see and guide you on how to circumvent them.
Besides providing advice and motivation, your tribe can also be an advocate for you. They should understand your wants and needs not only today but into the future. Each person should have your resume and be connected to you on LinkedIn. If they are acutely aware of who you are from your viewpoint versus their perception of you they are better able to refer you to others or for potential job opportunities. They can also serve as references during the recruiting process.
All of this does take time so it is just as important that you not only show gratitude towards each person but also in turn help them. It may not necessarily be for a professional reason but by reciprocating in some fashion makes both your tribe and theirs stronger. The ones who feel you have extended yourself to them will stand by you, show resiliency, and will be with you for the long haul.
Our tribe can change over time as we grow and develop ourselves. It is difficult sometimes to realize that someone should no longer be part of your tribe but that does not mean they can’t be in the future. What is necessary is to surround yourself with people who care about you and vice versa, and who will join you on many great adventures and maybe a few bumpy roads on your journey to success.