In my last message, I introduced you to the basics of emotional intelligence and why they are important competencies to master for your career success. As critical to mastering emotional intelligence is recognizing that career success goes beyond simply showing up for work, delivering an excellent product and then heading home at the end of the day. I cannot tell you how many clients I have coached that could not understand why their work didn’t speak for itself or why they had to play “office politics” (in their vernacular). If this is your mindset, the reality is that if you have aspirations to move beyond your current role, letting your work “speak for itself” will only leave you angry and frustrated. Why?
We live in a day and age in which constituents want to know their leaders. Constituencies don’t only apply to politics, they also apply to the workplace. Your future constituency not only wants to know you, they can actually play a critical role in advancing your objectives. Don’t forget that at the end of the day, anything we accomplish, we accomplish through relationships. Even in the most technical of fields, we learn and grow with the help and support of others. If you’re in sales, your success is predicated not only on your relationship with your customers but also your internal relationships with customers service, marketing and operations.
Building stronger relationships with your colleagues gives you a bigger sphere of influence and thus access to potentially greater visibility and opportunity regardless of your department, role or level within your organization. The bonus? You’ll get to know some really great people along the way! If you’re ready to step outside your comfort zone (and your office or cubicle), here are a few ideas to get you going:
- Have lunch or coffee with at least two different associates per week
- One meeting should be with someone you don’t already have relationship with
- The other is to build an existing relationship
- Remember to build your relationships authentically. You will not have a deep connection with every person you work with, so don’t try to contrive one. At the very least, learn about others goals and objectives so you support one another when the right opportunity arises
- If you are in a field sales position or otherwise operate remotely, schedule coffee dates by telephone. Just let others know that you would like to know them better and schedule some time by phone. They will be flattered.
- Use your voice at meetings so that others begin to view you as the leader you are
- Don’t confine your meetings to those in your workgroup. Identify others you would like to work with and get to know them better.
- Invite others at various levels within your company, organization or goal group. Want to get to know the CEO or one of your senior VP’s? Be brave! Invite them out. Not only should your meetings not be confined to your workgroup, they also don’t have to be confined to your level!
- Have fun!