I've noticed numerous photos and announcements being posted from students who are heading off to their summer or first full time positions, and I always enjoy "reading" their excitement. I always wonder as they start their new roles how often their manager sits down with them in the very beginning and discusses what I believe to be one of the most important things for anyone moving forward can be: "building more (solid) relationships".
I often sense that students in new full time positions, and even summer part time positions, are extremely nervous about exposing any weaknesses they may have, which in turn often pushes them to be a little more introverted than they already are. Many don't know what their strengths and weakness are to begin with, but meaningful evaluation, reflection, and growth I believe starts with a focus on building relationships.
As I reflect upon my journey up to this point, I keep coming back to three key things that I would encourage anyone to do as they begin a new page in their life story (or continue on the same one for that matter!).
1. Be energetic, enthusiastic, and engaged. (3E's of life!)
I've always believed the key to building any relationships is first being someone who others want to be around. Maybe some people enjoy being around people who lack energy, go through the motions, and aren't very personable, but I sure don't. As bad as it sounds, it is hard to get to know people like this because you just aren't drawn to them. They're not inviting, and you don't often see any value in building a relationship withem. Too often I see people like this become "invisible" in the workplace and beyond. Make a mark, a positive one, and allow yourself opportunities to engage.
2. Say YES to being involved with (almost) everything.
Some may disagree with me, but when you're starting a new position, if there is an opportunity to take part in a company function, join a recreation league, go grab a beverage after work, say YES. I don't care if it disrupts other plans, makes you feel super uncomfortable, or isn't "your thing", DO IT. You're part of a team, and the team has made it's first attempt to get to know you further as more than just a co-worker in the office. Too often I see new hires clock in and clock out, and miss the opportunity to truly get to know others around them, and add value to both parties moving forward.
3. Be conscious and consistent about adding value and helping others.
One of my best friends who I met during my first job was a person that just seemed to always be in tune with what was going on in my life. It takes time to get to know people, but as you do, you have to be conscious about building solid relationships. Are you able to pick up on things that might be going on? Did you shoot them a message saying good luck at their upcoming game of the team that they coach? Do you take them out to coffee or breakfast every once in awhile to catch up outside of the office? What are you doing every single day to make others around you better? If you focus on this, relationships will continue to become more meaningful and as you progress through your career, that network that everyone continues to talk to you about building truly becomes something that is much more valuable to you long term.
Be willing to step outside your comfort zone.
Be willing to focus on adding values to others first.
Be willing to give yourself an opportunity to build solid relationships you can carry throughout your life.
Scott Grant is the President / CEO of Triple Threat Leadership, LLCwww.triplethreatleadership.com; and Assistant Professor of Business at The University of Findlay. Contact Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org; or @MrGrant1161