Are you cultivating and investing in relationships that will support your career aspirations? If not, then you need to read this. 

To get the promotions, raises, and recognition, it is about relationships. Build your network of Allies, Sponsors, Mentors and Mirrors. It is an investment that pays big dividends. 

Connect with co-workers that are diverse to bring Allies to your corner. An example of building allyship is working with and identifying cross-functional colleagues with whom you’ve developed a mutual respect for each other’s contributions. Have each other’s backs and give each other constructive feedback when it is needed. Embrace those that are different from you whether that is race, gender or another diversity dimension that gives you both the opportunity to grow. 

While Allies are organic, informal relationships that develop over time and experiences working together, Sponsors and Mentors are more formal relationships that you want to seek out. These key members of your network are not your direct manager. Sponsors are typically more senior leaders with influence that may be in the room when your career opportunities or trajectory is being discussed. These are individuals that will potentially bring up your name in a talent management discussion or put your name forward for a project that will give you visibility. 

Like Sponsors, Mentors are also not your direct manager, and they may be a peer or a more senior level. Observe leaders that excel at some competency that you are developing. Your goals for learning from them should be documented in your first session or two, along with clear milestones that mark growth. 

Lastly, create a few trusted confidants that will speak the truth to you. I like to call these individuals Mirrors. Folks in your network that you have built trust and respect, hold up the mirror to reflect behavior back to you. They provide meaningful council, constructive feedback and encourage your growth while honoring your humanity. 

Having a well cultivated network of Allies, Sponsors, Mentors, and Mirrors provides a support team that accelerates your development and career advancement. They also provide a great cheering section when you need it most! 

If you want to learn more about building an authentic, strategic network. Click to set up time for us to see if working together makes sense.