26 September 2023

Successful surroundings: The three types of people women need

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Jess Commons* says successful women surround themselves with people who have three personality types.

Whether you’re a people person “there’s no way you’re going to make it to the top on your own.

Climbing the ladder involves collaboration, the more the better.

As millennials and Gen Z move away from traditional career paths, and more and more of us set ourselves up as entrepreneurs, collaboration only becomes more important.

Yes, it’s one thing to have an amazing idea, but there’s no way you have all the skills in place to make that idea into the best reality it can be.

In a bid to show who you should be seeking out for collaborative efforts, LinkedIn asked its members which types of individuals they’ve found helpful on the road to success — and we’ve got the answers.

LinkedIn careers expert Darain Faraz says: “As you go through your career — whatever stage you’re at — having a strong network is really crucial to helping you achieve your own version of success.

“Whether it’s the inspirational teacher from school or the boss that gave you a break in your first job, it’s so important to stay in touch.”

Here are the people you need.

The mentor

Also known as “the cheerleader”.

This is the person who celebrates your achievements and makes you feel good about the work you’re doing, offering critical advice stemming from their own experience along the way.

For women in businesses that may still be male-dominated, a mentor is crucial.

These more experienced women have dealt with the same gender-pay-gap, casual-sexism nonsense that you might be navigating now, and have come out the other side.

Listen and learn how they dealt.

How does the mentoring process work? Career coach Alice Stapleton recommends meeting up with people in your general career area on a regular basis.

“Invite them for a coffee or lunch,” she says.

“Share your aspirations and specific career goals in case they can help with introductions or references.”

Don’t do all the talking though; make sure you take in their advice, too.

The work best friend

You spend a lot of your time working.

Over a 50-year working period, it’s estimated that 35 per cent of your waking hours will be spent at work.

This prospect is made far more palatable by the friends you make at work and it’s something that, as millennials, we seem to have done well.

A third of us have a work best friend who we see outside the office.

As well as being another person to drink wine with on weekends, this work friend makes 78 per cent of people feel more confident at work.

They can also provide another opinion on how you’re doing.

“We often have blind spots when it comes to self-perception,” says Alice, who recommends you ask these friends for feedback on what they think you’re good at, as well as asking them to be honest about where you could get your shit together a little more.

The rival

A rival doesn’t mean someone you’re going to have blazing rows with, in the boardroom.

No, a rival is someone who can provide a bit of healthy competition to motivate you to work harder.

It’s that similarly matched person you always sit next to in spin class who keeps you going a little bit longer.

A third of millennials admit to having a work rival and they say it motivates them to succeed and work harder.

*Jess Commons is Managing Editor at Refinery 29 UK.

This article first appeared at refinery29.com.

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