Your Network is Your Team — Are You Missing a Player?

by Joe Lavelle on November 28, 2011

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As you navigate through your professional life and travel on those stepping stones along your career path, who is coming along with you on this journey?  Who do you have on your team?  Obviously, I hope that your family and friends are there to support you.  You probably won’t get very far without that.  But, beyond that, do you have a network that you have developed to which you can turn with questions, fears, or maybe just to get some honest criticism?

If you think of your network like a team, you know that it isn’t helpful to have everyone playing the same position.  Each person has a different role to play and you hope that you are able to offer something unique in return.

The blog Careerealism posted an article earlier this year entitled “Top 10 People You Must Have in Your Network.”  Perhaps the most obvious of these is The Mentor.  This is someone who holds a position to which you aspire and who has a long-term relationship with you as you meet with both success and setbacks in your career.  But, do you have The Visionary in your group, who can help you develop a great plan for your career goals?  Or, The Realist–a person who will keep you in check when your ambition at the moment may be a pick unrealistic.

Please check out the entire list, as I think it provides a great rundown of what makes a person’s network effective.  And, if you discover that you don’t have someone fulfilling one of the roles mentioned . . . go out and find that person!

Also, think about how effective you are at being part of another person’s network?  Can you think about a colleague and understand the role you offer in his situation?  Are you The Connector or The Idealist or someone else?  If you aren’t sure how you are currently helping, you need to ask.  Step up and be that valued team player and you will get more than that in return.


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