Michael Bungay Stanier in his book, Do More Great Work is clear when he says, “Doing Great Work by yourself means it’s not Great Work.” He goes on to say, “To get the job done, we all need support from those around us – family, friends, and colleagues. “ For many of us that can be a tough pill to swallow, as we may have been brought up to emulate Clint Eastwood, Bruce Willis, Linda Hamilton or Angelina Jolie – “the rugged individual, the lone hero who does it all by him or herself.”
While going it alone might be attractive to Introverts and Baby Boomers, today’s workplace demands and mounding stress requires many more resources than ever before to be successful and efficient. Extraverts and Gen Y workers might be the first to form a dynamic support team from these three critical avenues:
1. People who love you. I think I’d like to qualify this category to include “people who love you and are good at giving loads of support and encouragement.” Everyone needs people around them who say, “You can do it and I believe you” when the going gets tough.
2. People with skills. This category expands to people who have skills on anything you need to help you be successful. It always surprises me when we do a Skills Scan in teaming workshops as to the number of people who have worked together for years but don’t know the vast skill set of those around them. As a consequence, they don’t tap into others’ existing ablities to help them achieve their own current goals. Consider connecting with your network or expanding your network, and find out what they are really good at. Ask them to teach you, provide advice and problem solve. Social media outlets such as LinkedIn and other forums are perfect places to gather resources and meet people who have more experience in areas where you want to grow. Don’t reinvent the wheel – check out YouTube, Twitter etc. – be an information sponge and get connected.
Also consider looking to hire personal coaches, attend workshops/webinars and get individualized training to gain the skills you may need or to get a fresh perspective. In particular, GenY workers may love the concept of not only adding to their backpack of skills, but also getting just-in-time, personalized programs. These training options could also help supervisors and managers as well. As performance evaluations reveal areas of growth and provide opportunity to set future goals, managers and supervisors have the responsibility of assisting employees with finding resources to fulfill the requirements of that development plan. As more and more demands are placed on job tasks, it becomes harder for supervisors and managers to have the time they need to adequately perform this managerial responsibility. Experts agree that without feedback and growth, star Gen Y workers head for the door.
3. People with influence. These individuals are those that can open doors for you and be your best promoter. To me, these contacts are the combination of avenues one and two – they think you are terrific, are in a senior or more prestigious position, and can recommend you for projects, promotions or career opportunities. You may have to ask them to play this role for you because they might not automatically think of doing so. Don’t be shy or you could miss out on this avenue.
So, grab a piece of paper and draw an implications wheel. In the center, put yourself. Add people who make up your personal network. Put “people who love me” in one area, “people with skills and abilities” in another, and “people with influence” in the last third of the map. See where you need to expand your map and who you need to talk to. Draw a circle off an individual who may know someone that you’d like to get connected to. Ask that person to make the introduction for you. Put this map somewhere visible so you’ll remember to look at it periodically and assess your progress.
With so many ways to be “social” today, we need to use each and every one to our best advantage, including finding great coaches to help us along the way.
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