The Sponsor

Sponsors advocate on your behalf and sometimes present you with career advancement opportunities. It has been proven by numerous studies that "one cannot ascend in any organization without a sponsor."

To find a sponsor, you must showcase your unique skills, cultural knowledge, amongst other things that could make you someone worth advocating for. Sponsors are high in demand and are difficult to recruit so it's important to develop a standout reputation and have good connections.

Karter Y. (@kary76) - Profile Photo




The Partner

The partner doesn't necessarily mean your "work BFF", but rather someone who you trust, that has the drive to succeed, and is someone who is working towards the same outcome as you.

Having a mutually beneficial peer relationship is great because they are someone who complements your personality and work ethic, and they fill in the gaps of your working style. To find a partner, become an advocate for other people's work and reciprocate their enthusiasm.

The Mentee

Assuming the role of the teacher helps us gain greater clarity of a subject by breaking it down into simple steps. It also helps us hone vital soft skills that every leader should have: strong communication, creativity, and empathy.

Seek out opportunities internally or externally. By being a mentor, it will also give you more visibility and help build a good reputation.

The Mentor

Mentorship is about having challenging conversations that help increase our self-awareness and helps us grow both personally and professionally.

To find a mentor, pick someone you admire that is within reach and consider their willingness to form a professional relationship with you. Having a mentor will strongly build a strong personal brand by displaying your competence, experience, and positive attitude.

The Competitor

Competition can be healthy if it's focused on achieving results rather than battling for resources. When competitiveness is used correctly, it can serve as a motivation to hone and improve your skills and lead to improved performance.

The three vital character traits of competitive relationships are integrity, maturity, and abundance mentality. To find a rival, schedule a meeting and entice them to work with you, not against you, and have a vulnerable conversation as formidable peers.

Consider why you prefer to get work done separately. Usual justifications could be:

  • "I'm confident that I can do the work better than others."
  • I'll end up picking up the slack and doing it all myself anyway."

Self-confidence and ambition, while good traits, shouldn't come at the expense of a team. A great team needs different characteristics, and it takes a talented leader to create such teams. Ultimately you should trust your colleagues, share responsibilities, and discover creative solutions together.

Research shows that just feeling that you are part of a team makes complex tasks more enjoyable and promotes motivation. Working from home makes collaboration as a team even more critical.

Addressing issues you're passionate about with like-minded people are vital to job satisfaction. Taking advantage of the diversity of experiences and ideas in a team setting can lead to innovative ideas.

Moving to a team-centered role

If you've moved from an individual role to a more team-centred position, working as part of a team may at first pose a challenge.

But, there are ways to overcome this problem and learn how to work together in a team.

You may have difficulty adjusting if you're used to doing everything yourself, but the following can help.

  • Assess your strengths and weaknesses, and be receptive to learning and teaching. If you're an expert in an area, you can teach others. In areas you are weaker, you can learn from your coworkers.
  • Build trust with your colleagues by demonstrating your own vulnerability and openness.
  • Sharing the workload frees up your time and shows your staff that you have faith in their abilities.
  • Don't default to Zoom. Set aside blocks of time where you're not available for online meetings.
  • Choose physical over digital. If you brainstorm for an article, write your thoughts on paper. Sketch the initial draft of your big project on a whiteboard.
  • Move as much as possible. In between meetings, take a walk to the kitchen to refill your water or coffee. When you need a quick break, roll your shoulders to get the blood flowing. On a normal phone call, consider walking back and forth.
  • Take tech-free breaks. Eat lunch away from your computer, look out a window, or read a physical book. Consider a post-work outdoor physical activity.
Remote work increases screen time

Video chat apps and other technology connect us while we work remotely, but the extra time in front of the computer can cause eye strain, muscle fatigue, and mental and emotional fatigue.

There are ways we can proactively disconnect from the screen to help maintain and regain our energy.

  1. Set aside a quick morning check-in which is preferably audio-only to catch up with everyone.
  2. Ensure that the employees feel connected and at ease.
  3. Build a trust relationship with the remote workers so that they feel part of a team, and cared for.
Working Remotely In A Meaningful Way
  • Working at home sounded great to many and the prospect of having no commute was seen as a welcome change (which it is).
  • This initial euphoria has now turned into loneliness and missing of those we work with.
  • Long-term remote work can diminish our chance to find meaning in our lives, with no sense of physical community or structure, making it hard to stay anchored.
  • Many also find the extraordinary challenge of balancing one’s professional and personal lives at the same place overwhelming.

Having a physical workplace facilitates interdependence, and promotes healthy professional relationships. There is a sense of belonging, collective focus and social interaction that helps people find purpose and meaning in their lives.

Without all the things people love at their jobs, plain work suddenly looks less interesting or meaningful, as the entire context that made the mundane work attractive or tolerable has now been snatched away.

  1. Forging a connection in a particular space at home or at a cafe/library where one can work in peace.
  2. Create a ritual to differentiate your workspace and personal space. It can be just going to a different place for working, or even taking a short walk to set yourself up for ‘work mode’.
  3. Connect with people who help you manage your emotions and keep you on track.
  4. Make the main purpose of your work connect with what matters to you and to the world. If the work is ‘soul-sucking’ with no purpose, this can be a challenge.
Linus Pauling

“If you want to have good ideas, you must have many ideas.”

The more people you collaborate with, the more ideas will result, which are more likely to lead to a few truly genius insights.

With remote work, we can gather a diverse range of collaborators from other parts of our organization or outside the organization. Diverse teams lead to more creativity, so remote work lets us tap into a new pool of expertise and creativity, which we couldn’t access when collaborating in-person.

Remote work allows us go beyond the standard approach to brainstorming by using brainwriting.

  • This brainwriting approach prevents the loudest person, first to speak, or most experienced person from dominating the conversation.
  • Exchanging written ideas also allows the introvert to shine and it's easier on to team members whose first language may not be English.
  • There is less social pressure to follow one person’s idea, so everyone contributes equally.
  • Collaborative digital tools give us new abilities and superpowers that we can’t use during an in-person session of exchanging ideas.
  • The chat feature of the platforms we use gives us an extra channel to communicate, comment on ideas and build on them, and ask questions in a way that isn’t possible with in-person collaboration.

You have chances for inspiration when working from home (even when we're surrounded by our pets, kids, or partners):

  • Your environment can energize you and inspire you: you are surrounded by the books you love, or your favorite arts, plants, pets, and family members.
  • You can easily head out for a walk, and nothing beats a sudden flash of creativity than a walk surrounded by nature.
  • Quiet time to recharge is also easier when working from home.
Creativity and remote work
  • In the discussion about remote work, most of conversation goes around finding ways to make emote workforce more productive and efficient. Yet while productivity matters, creativity often gets left out of that conversation.
  • As remote work will be the new normal for many of us, the discussion cannot be about which is the better place to do creative work. We have to get better at being creative remotely. It’s no longer a nice-to-have.

Remote work allows us to not only access a greater range of talent. It lets us bring in the facilitators who can make or break an ideation session.

Remote facilitation is a different skill set. Your colleague who is an ace in-person facilitator may not be able to pull it off remotely.

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