Work-Peer Relationships & Networking: What Makes Them So Important

 In Professional Networking

Work-Peer Relationships & Networking: What Makes Them So ImportantNetworking has become so popular and discussed so often that it has made the word itself seem to hold a certain mystique.  Yet, networking is nothing more than developing and nurturing relationships.  In the workplace it’s very natural to develop relationships with people; and sometimes those relationships can last a lifetime.  It’s important to you personally and professionally to have work-peer relationships, even if they don’t last beyond this job.

If you are among the socially reluctant, let’s look at a few of the myriad of reasons for deliberately developing relationships with your peers:

Information is vital.  The primary commodity that is traded in a relationship is information.  At work, the more information you have the better you can do your job, navigate the political waters and avoid a career-ending act.  Call it training, gossip or insights; you need ongoing and vast amounts of information to do well in your career.

We are social creatures.  Even the most introverted or shy person out there needs to connect with others at some level.  It helps you belong and comfortably contribute as part of the cultural fabric you are in.  We all play a role and work like cogs in a machine.  You need to know the other cogs, what they do and how your work relates.  Relationships help validate us as people.

Ease of accomplishment.  When you have work-peer relationships and are in need of gaining support for the work you’re assigned or an idea you have, you will get more mileage with your efforts.  You won’t have to work to gain trust and most likely you will have some philosophical beliefs or values in common.  You may also use your peers as sounding boards for your projects and incorporate their ideas, making them personally invested in your success because you used their ideas.

Future management ranks.  Sooner or later one of your peers will ascend to a higher level.  When that happens, you’ve got a built-in relationship with management.  It can seriously help you to see management more rationally and without some of the intimidation that sometimes occurs.  When you have a relationship with a higher up, it can become a mentoring relationship if you both want it to.  Having a relationship with someone at this level also helps you to better understand that role, its demands and either aid with responding well to them or learn what it takes to join them.  As you move up the ranks in management, your role is less about how to execute your expertise than it is to influence others.

Creates opportunity.  It doesn’t matter if you are looking for a new job or looking to get promoted, who you know makes a difference to the opportunities that come our way.  We all know about 200 people inside and outside the workplace.  That in itself is a ton of connectivity; but you also have to consider that you never know who is cooking up some great opportunity for which you are perfect.  When you have relationships with your co-workers, they know, like, and trust you, which makes you well positioned when something juicy comes along.  It should be pointed out that as you get closer to the executive ranks this is how “job search” (if you want to call it that) takes place.  You won’t see those positions posted.   Again, it’s not what you know it’s who you know that will help create opportunities.

Help during trouble.   It helps to have someone to whom you can vent and trust that it won’t get broadcast.  When going through a troubled time, it can be good to have someone with whom you can share your issues.  Depending on your relationship, you can seek them out for advice or ideas that perhaps you’re too stressed to think of yourself.

You will discover that developing and maintaining work-peer relationships will make you feel great about going to work each day.  When people leave or retire you often hear comments about missing the people.  It is a significant factor that can bring success to your goals and satisfaction to your career.

For more career tips and advice – FREE newsletter and eworkbook:  From Dorothy Tannahill-Moran – Your Career Change Agent from and


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