Your direct boss is not the only person who will influence your performance, or ultimately determine the trajectory of your career. It’s up to you to identify the people whose strong influence can help you get to where you want to go. Get to know people before you need them. Seek out the people around you who are key influencers, and nurture your relationships with them.
Each member of your team is different. To foster a team culture that functions at peak efficiency, you must understand, harness, and promote the unique talents of each individual because, as Aristotle said: “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” By empowering your employees, you will not only grow their careers, but yours as well.
Success is not predicated on how smart you are, or how hard you work. It’s the strength of the relationships you build that make or break a career. Peer relationships are every bit as important as those you have with your boss and the people who report to you directly.
Always make your boss look good in front of others, but in one-on-one situations, be as truthful as you can. Likewise, never rake an employee over the coals in front of his or her peers. Constructive critique is best received in a private forum. And in both cases, balance truth with tact. To achieve the desired outcome, be selective with your feedback. Learn to separate that which is truly useful from that which is merely truthful, and toss any tendencies toward “TMI” to the curb.
A title alone will not get your employees to do what you want them to. Savvy hiring and management skills will take you only so far. To succeed in today’s business climate, you have to be more than just a manager — you have to be a leader. You must inspire your employees by creating a culture that reflects your personal and business goals.
Diversity and globalization have led to workplace challenges that didn’t exist years ago. In order to flourish, today’s executives need to understand these new internal dynamics. They must be sensitive to issues of gender, race, and cultural differences —both real or perceived — and build a harmonious environment that embraces diversity.
Understanding your own strengths and weaknesses, then building a team that is a compliment to you is a sure path to success. Hiring or grooming team members as your own personal clones is a shortsighted strategy. As much as you might like the view in a mirror, seeing the bigger picture is more likely to get you where you really want to go.