We all reach plateaus in our careers – some even call it a rut. Part of breaking out of this phase is to look at your network. Every 6 months I look through my network and think ‘Who do I need that I don’t have and who do have that I don’t need?’ You can think of it as spring cleaning your life and network. You can find countless articles about building a network but not on who should be in it and certainly never those that could be a detriment to your advancement.
How do you know if someone is a friend or a foe when it comes to your career? Who should I work to foster a relationship and with whom should I be cutting ties? These are the five types of people not in my network.
We’ve all met the people who turn EVERYTHING into a competition. It doesn’t matter what it is, they are going to win at it. While a little friendly competition is a good thing – the Olympian won’t stop until he or she wins. You don’t need someone in your network that wants to make you out to be a loser. You want someone who challenges you to be your best but will be equally happy for you to succeed.
The Black Cloud
Networking should be about improving your prospects and making sure the right people are connected with you. Avoid the Black Cloud at all costs. He or she will advise you of the perils at every turn. If you’re ready to become an entrepreneur, you’ll hear of everyone they ever met that failed. If you want to accept a promotion and a position at a new company, you’ll be frightened with stories of layoffs and downsizing when a friend did the same. No matter what the situation, doom and gloom are sure to be their constant companion.
It’s safe to say that few people like politicians. Whether it’s an actual politician or simply someone you know who is a schmoozer and deflector – you do not want these people in your network. To protect yourself from the Politician – don’t share any important information with them or those in their network. Gossip and lies are their forte and can bring an innocent person down in the process.
Vampires can be tricky. When you look at their LinkedIn profile, they are connected to almost everyone. That’s because when we first meet them, they are charming and friendly. They come across as helpful and genuine. But they are trying to get close to drain you of any useful contacts. After charming you, you don’t even realize they have gotten you to make introductions to others in your network. They agree to do the same, but somehow there is always a delay. Then once they have what they want, they move on to the next victim.
The Dreamer is always pitching you. He has ideas, lots of them. If you join forces with him and invest you’ll make millions. Unfortunately the Dreamer has a track record that says otherwise. Even worse, while he has ideas – he doesn’t actually like to put the work in that is required to make them successful. Having The Dreamer in your network can only make you look bad. They have shared their dreams with others and have nothing to show for it.
These five types of people only hold us back. They make us question ourselves, they can reflect badly on us and worst of all they sometimes block our success. A wise business leader I worked with years ago told me “If you want to soar with the Eagles, don’t hang with the Turkeys.” One bad apple really can ruin the whole bunch. These are the people not in my network – are they in yours?
If you’re wondering how to build your network and who to include in it, I can provide the coaching and guidance you need!