Career Management: Relationship-Building

One of the most important career management habits for career success and resiliency is regular attention to building relationships. Mentors, role models, feedback providers and coaches can help us connect, gain support, develop and excel in our careers. There are numerous ways to build relationships. Here are some examples:

  • Observe your colleagues and boss in meetings or other work interactions – What do they do well? What could you learn by watching them or talking with them about their process?
  • Share your career goals with your supervisor and colleagues. Doing so will help your supervisor better understand your desire to work on various projects if you share your reasoning and needs for development.
  • Ask colleagues (former and current), supervisors (former and current), professional contacts, career mentors and coaches, and friends for feedback on your strengths and areas for growth. Use the Talents Inquiry and Strengths Scan exercise  (PDF) to guide you in soliciting and analyzing this feedback.
  • Build relationships with other staff by joining staff associations and groups on campus
  • Join the Berkeley Staff Assembly Mentorship program to gain access to a supportive structure in which you can cultivate contacts as you design your personal growth and career paths at Berkeley. The program provides the opportunity to gather information, develop peer support, learn more about management, and better understand UCB organizational culture.

Ten Tips for Building Relationships

  1. Know yourself and your goals
  2. Learn how to articulate this information clearly and with enthusiasm
  3. Listen to others and discover what their goals and skills are – send them information that you come across that they may be interested in
  4. Seek others' feedback, opinions, consultation, and collaboration. Use the Connecting to Key Leaders handout  (PDF) to guide you in building relationships with managers, supervisors, or other leaders who can have an impact on your career development.
  5. Respond to others when asked for feedback, consultation, or collaboration and be generous with reciprocating your time as much as possible to others
  6. Keep track of who you want to develop relationships with, who you already have relationships with, and how to reach them
  7. Think about the kind of relationship you want with each person in your network – mentoring, informational interviewing, support/encouragement, feedback, introductions to others, information sharing, etc.
  8. Update people in your network periodically on your career development
  9. Don't expect any one person to play every possible function in your career development, particularly not your supervisor or spouse/partner - diversify your network
  10. Thank people for their time, feedback, and help