5 people you should have in your network

Establishing valuable networks

Growing valuable relationships are one of the most important things in both your daily business as Product Manager and your personal career development. Strong networks help you achieve your goals, provide shortcuts and are beneficial for your personal growth. I identified 5 types of relationships that have turned out to be extremely helpful along the way.

one who inspires you

Stimulating Impulses

I love to be surrounded by people who inspire me. Those people can have the same or a totally different background. They can work in the same field and industry as you or they might be experts for something that is actually far away from your own expertise. In any case, what makes relationships with those people valuable is that you exchange ideas, discover different approaches and hence, get new impulses to think or act differently as usual. We often admire people who inspire us and look up to them in a certain way. That kind of relationships require a good amount of openness to be valuable.

Someone who inspires you
Your helping hand

Mentor, Coach, Buddy

We are all facing situations in which a helping hand is probably all that is needed. In our daily business as Product Managers we are constantly confronted with challenging tasks. It gets even trickier when we are new to a project, team or company. My best advice is to find yourself a buddy - a mentor - to support you. Someone who has gone down the road before you. A person who knows how things work and why they are as they are. It´s extremely helpful to bond with a person who has been with the company for quite some time and can help you identify road blockers quickly and take shortcuts instead. But also, outside your professional environment it´s super useful to look out for a mentor or coach that accompanies you through your personal development and supports you along your career path. Mentor and mentee relationships heavily rely on and can only be built upon trust and honesty.

A Supporter and Partner

Strategic alliances

A valuable network always comprises people who support you in your projects. You´ll always need people on your side, that believe in your approaches and are committed to what you and how you do it. They stand up for you and guarantee their contribution in form of resources, knowledge or positive influence across the organization. Outside your work environment establishing connections with your supporters can open doors to their network and new opportunities. They might become partners or advisors for your projects and leverage their own relationships for the success of your undertakings. Connections to your partners and supporters are usually based on a pragmatic though reliable and honest handshake.

One to challenge you

Strength through Critics

A beneficial network should also comprise a person who questions you every now and then. You won´t grow if you´re only surrounded by yes-sayers. After many ayes should follow a nay sometimes. This person will be your toughest critic, but the best strengths reinforcement at the same time. In order to foster a bond that allows to criticize one another for the good without feeling or being offended requires utmost sincerity and trust. However, if you manage to establish a close relationship with a challenger you will be able to leverage your strengths constantly, and hence grow personally.

Your counterpart

Balancing weaknesses

Nobody is perfect. That´s why we are well-advised to have people around us who are contrary to us. Those people balance out our imperfections and weaknesses. If you are a person who is rather quiet and introvert, a relationship with someone who is outgoing and actionable will help to break through your reserve. People who need to understand complex problems to their last root cause, sometimes need a counterpart, that enforces to take action to solve problem rather than analyzing it to death. You should always be open to connect with people that are different from you, although we tend to surround ourselves with people that are similar to us. Those contrary personalities and characteristics will eventually support and help you to offset your weaknesses.

Being connected and close to those kind of people will be extremely important in an increasingly complex, fast and communicative world. Having these above mentioned people in my network, turned out to be my most beneficial asset. Successfully establishing strong networks is not about being an extrovert or a master small-talker; it´s about being reflective and effective.

Written by Sabrina Rzepka


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