Susan’s boss recently disclosed the company’s COO recommended keeping an eye on Joy one of my client’s subordinates. He’s unsure she’s a keeper. This chat regards someone four levels down!

Why the lack of confidence by the COO?

Susan’s employee has a history of changing jobs every two years or so, which to the COO reflects not only a lack of stability but also loyalty.

My client experienced mixed feelings chief of which was gratitude to a boss who is willing to be transparent. However, that isn’t where I want to go with this blog.

I requested Susan close her eyes to mentally travel back in time: “Remember when you held the same position? Would you have guessed how high up in the organization that senior management was discussing you and your future?”

“No!” was her prompt response.

“If you had had any idea, would you have done anything differently?” I inquired.

“Oh yes,” Susan offered with a chuckle. “Without question, I’d have initiated Relationship Building as a focus much earlier in my career!”

I asked: “Has the COO or your boss met Joy?”

I then raised: “Do you believe the COO or your boss would be judging Joy so harshly if they knew her personally?”

Silence, followed by a sigh, “I would think they’d have a much better opinion had they met her as she’s stellar.”

Being known is why Building Relationships throughout the organization as high as you can manage is vital for a career that has legs. It’s almost impossible to be championed by top executives, where career decisions get made when no one has met you nor values you as a high-potential candidate.

The reality is Susan, without meaning to, failed one of her primary responsibilities—mentoring her staff. It is so easy to forget this aspect of your position in the midst of all the other competing tasks crying out for attention! However, as a leader, it is your job to expand not only your employee’s expertise but also the nuanced, soft skills that are the game changers for a thriving career. And one of the biggest leverage skills to have in your arsenal is Building Relationships!

Did you know?

  • According to Blessing/White, 96 percent of surveyed companies plan to increase or maintain the scope of their internal coaches. Internal coaches are anyone leading, developing, collaborating with and managing a company’s workforce. Don’t you fall into this category?
  • One of the most challenging yet fundamental commissions of management is developing a robust pipeline of successors who are prepared to assume your role and lead the organization to long-term profitability. How often do you sit down one-on-one with your staff to mentor and coach your people not simply regarding skills, but about activities which will leverage their career trajectory?
  • A significant difference-maker for an employee is the network they develop both internally and externally. However, women often focus more on their work than the connections they foster incorrectly assuming this is what a successful career is built on in business. And because of this mindset miss opportunities for opening doors of influence. As one CEO said in the McKinsey and Company’s report Unlocking the Full Potential of Women at Work: Women don’t knock on my door the way men do or ask for advice. I wish they were more proactive.

How do you match up at mentoring and coaching? How are your Relationship Building skills? More importantly, what are you going to do about it?


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