Join Todd Dewett for an in-depth discussion in this video Highlighting the work of others, part of Connecting with Peers in the Workplace (2014).
- One of the challenges we all face in terms of connecting with others, is getting past a focus on ourselves. It makes sense, we're busy, we're stressed, we're focused on our own goals, and it often feels like we don't have the time or energy to focus on anyone else. Well, let me challenge you. Your focus on yourself is good and useful, but it often becomes too shortsighted, and you lose out on the chance to become a real part of a great team instead of just being a capable individual. How you choose to use your time is a choice.
It's up to you, and for many of us, we need to realize that spending a small amount of our time to thoughtfully build rapport with others, long term, is every bit as important as wrapping up that piece of work right in front of us. I want you to remember that your professional growth is about your network every bit as much as your personal ability. Not only should you be finding thoughtful ways to add people to your network and thinking about ways they might assist you, you also have to find ways to help them. When you think about your teammates and close contacts in general, think about them as seeds you've planted.
Well, you've got to water them and help them grow. And the easy and powerful way to do that, is to take information you have about their abilities, good deeds and accomplishments, and push it out to other relevant people in your network. When you take small bits of time to engage this type of behavior, they're at least three terribly interesting things that are likely to happen. First, people who know that you've been kind enough to speak well of them, are likely to reciprocate and speak well of you. They're also more likely to think of you when they become aware of certain opportunities.
Finally, when they hear of something you said, did or accomplished, they're likely to verbalize support for your actions while talking to others. To get started, begin by thinking about the types of things you might draw attention to that others are doing. This might include landing a new client, successfully planning and executing a big event, being recognized by an industry group, or completing a new educational degree, or professional certification. Now realize that you can show support of these things in several different ways to several different audiences.
First, of course, you can take the opportunity when you see someone to say, "Congratulations!" or, "Way to go." Or, you can make time to call or stop by, to deliver that message. Next, think about how you show support within your group. If someone has done something really meritorious, you can bring it up during a team meeting, or you might mention it in a conference call with the team, or an email distributed to everyone. Of course, for especially meritorious achievements, you might consider broadcasting your praise, not just to the person or the team, but well beyond the team.
Using conversations with your connections and electronic means, you can reach other groups, business units, various executives, or industry groups. Think about, there's the company newsletter and other internal sites dedicated to this type of news. There's the local newspaper, which is often used as a great place to celebrate promotions and other achievements. And there are innumerable trade publications, both print and digital, who are always looking for new content. Building stronger professional relationships starts with being really good at what you do, but it's also more than that.
You've got to seriously look around your team and your network, and find things clearly worth applauding, and then find a quick way to share that good news with everyone else. That's one great way to build connections that last.