In the hero’s journey, the classic story structure used in a lot of your favorite books, movies, and TV shows, the hero overcomes obstacles and enemies with the help of allies. The same goes for you and your career: Forming workplace alliances can be helpful on your journey to victory.
Wondering who to team up with for greater career success? Rebecca Hulse, a speaker, author, facilitator and business consultant who checked off every item on her bucket list at only 20 years old, recommends a strengths-based approach. Start by understanding your own superpowers so you can find people to complement them. “This is how you learn to work smart, and not hard,” she says.
“In the work cultures I develop, I desire to have ‘creationships.’ We often rely on our colleagues instead of owning and acknowledging our own capacities. Instead of having a relationship where you lean on each other, what if you created one that was more about recognizing the gifts and strengths you individually bring to the table and seeing how you can [combine forces]?”
Hulse takes a page from Joy of Business, a career and entrepreneurship platform, to break down the three types of coworkers needed to achieve career success. Find out which one you are, then start applying the concept when working on various projects. You’ll soon realize that teamwork does indeed make the dream work.
The three types of essential coworkers
1. The Creator
Creators are dreamers and visionaries. They tend to be great at coming up with solutions. But they also have trouble with follow-through and may lose steam when it’s time to execute. “A creator is the one who is always coming up with ideas, but doesn’t always know how to institute them,” says Hulse.
2. The Connector
Connectors are naturals at building rapport. They love people and easily start conversations. They tend to excel in sales roles. And one of their strengths is to bring the right people together to successfully carry out a project. “The connector knows who needs to be involved,” says Hulse.
3. The Mover
“The mover is the one who knows how to coordinate and what to put in place for a project to come to fruition,” says Hulse. Movers are operational masterminds. They’re not always the most creative, but they can translate ideas into action and create clear step-by-step plans to achieve any goal.
Workplace enemies can be helpful too
Now that you’re thinking about workplace allies, you may be worried about workplace foes and the negative impact they can have on your career. Don’t fret: Coworkers who are challenging to work with can actually give you an opportunity to improve your ability to stand your ground and form your own opinions — two traits that will carry you far at work.
“There’s a common misconception that your happiness in your job mainly stems from the people you are around. One of the best places to practice creating an independent point of view is around people who challenge you,” says Hulse.
Work BFFs are not that important
Your work wife or husband won’t do much for your success. Sure, having a shoulder to lean on at work and being around people you can trust and have fun with will add to your day-to-day experience. But it’s not going to make a big difference in terms of your results.
“Friendships are entertaining and can give you a lot, but when you are working together what is your target? Generally, there is an outcome required,” says Hulse. “This is why I prefer ‘creationships.’ The target is creating — it’s not personal.”