This article was inspired a new friend asked me about my tips on how SHE could become a networking super hero. I hope these tips are helpful for you – and for her!
I am blessed to be able to connect with TONS of people around the world, for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, I don’t know why people want to connect with me. Unless they are trying to sell me a watch, I’ll connect with them.
1) Be who you are, forget who you are not – If you love pizza, say so, and don’t be afraid of it. If you’re shy, that’s okay, just listen. Whatever/whoever you are, focus on that.
2) Add value FIRST. If you want to connect with someone, share something with them that can add value to their life. Be it an article, a tip, another connection, whatever. Add some value FIRST.
3) Be open to new possibilities – You never know who/what can add value to your life. Be open to whatever possibilities might happen, even if they seem less than awesome.
4) Smile always – whatever happens, happens. Smile and roll with it, and respond with a smile.
5) Know your brand – who you are, and what you know, is why people are connecting with you. Understand this, and leverage this. Use it, and have FUN.
What is YOUR best way to become a networking superhero?
Being a manager means you need to get to know people you work with, especially the people that report directly to you. If you are not cultivating a relationship with these people, they will leave for someone who will. It’s important to show your team how much you care about them, especially if you are a front line manager. If you don’t, they will leave and find someone who cares about them.
If you are looking to increase employee engagement, and increase job satisfaction for those on your team, you have to get this right. You have to care about the people that report to you as people, not just as widget producers. You have to get to know them on a personal level, and invest your time and your efforts in understanding what they do when they’re not doing what they do every day at work. You must care about the whole person, so you can understand why, when they return 10 minutes late from lunch some Tuesday afternoon that it’s not because they are slacking off and lazy, that it’s because they have a young child at home and their spouse couldn’t take off, and the fact that you let them and don’t give them a hard time means that when company X calls with a job offer that’s $1,000 more that they’ll at least talk to you about this opportunity first. Or better yet, they may not even seriously entertain the offer, because it’s hard to leave a manager that gives you that sort of flexibility.
As a young corporate citizen some 10 years ago, I had a manager who card about me. His name was Jon, and he gave me the latitude to come in late a few nights on second shift so I could finish a course I was taking at the local university. I worked my butt off for Jon. I gave him everything I had, and then some. A position opened up that was right in my strengths zone, and I didn’t want to leave. But Jon said it would be a good career move, that it would allow me to work days and work with another great manager, and that I could leverage what I knew all about in new ways. Jon cared about me, and realized I couldn’t grow in the role I was in.
So I took a chance at that job, and Jon gave me an amazing endorsement. They didn’t interview anyone else for the job, they just hired me because Jon said I’d do a great job. That was 7 years ago, and today, if Jon had a position open on his team that I was qualified for, I would seriously consider leaving what I’m doing and go and work for him.
OK Phil, but that worked for you and your manager. You’re special. OK, so you don’t believe me. Read through the 12 signs you have a great job, taken directly from research by the Gallup organization, and published in the groundbreaking book, First Break All the Rules: What Great Managers Do Differently. #5 says it quite simply: “Does my supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about me as a person?”
Gallup’s research says it’s true, I’ve lived this and know it’s true, what about you? Have you seen this in your career or in the careers of those around you? Do you see someone who you know could have left years ago to make more money somewhere else, but mysteriously, she sticks around and works harder and harder every day, working for the same person, and you don’t know why, because you don’t see anything special about that manager. But there is. Deep down I’ll bet that manager cares more about that associate and that associate’s well being than you’ll ever see on the outside, and though she may never say it, that manager loves her team.
Do you care about those you work with? Do those that work with you care about you? If you don’t care, or you’re not cared for, think about how engaged you are, and how engaged the employees around you are. If you’re seeing a lot of turnover, this might be the reason. Start today! Start caring about your team, your manager, and your fellow employees.
Many people have asked, “Phil, what’s a relationship geek and why in the world would anyone want to become one?”
Very good question, so allow me to explain, in reverse order.
Geek:Â No longer is a geek a dork, a computer guy, or a weirdo. A geek is an expert, someone who knows all there is to know about something, and is willing to share it in a way that makes sense to even those who are novice at the skill the geek is an expert at.
Relationship: Relationships are the basis for all things good in the world. People, not money or power or knowledge or anything else, make the world go around. Without people, there would be nothing. Even in the Bible, the golden rule says to “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Yet so many people don’t know how to do even the most basic of things to create and build relationships. These things are what I’ll be talking about here at Relationship Geek.com, and is my most popular keynote address.
If you put the two together, you get a guy who is dedicated to creating and deepening relationships, and is an expert at it and can put the tips he uses into plain English, so anyone can understand it. This person we will call the Relationship Geek. Right now, I am the lead geek. If you stick around, pay attention, take notes, and put the articles I share into action, YOU can be a relationship geek.
I’m Phil Gerbyshak, and I welcome you to become a Relationship Geek!
Let the journey begin!