“As iron sharpens iron, so people can improve each other”- Proverbs 27:17 (NCV)
People understood the importance of connections, that’s why most people are using it for economic gains– like referrals for business deals and employment opportunity, or to ensure a hassle free processing of permits or clearance in Gov’t. Agencies. This is also used to avoid trouble– like those who use their connection to settle their traffic violations, and to a privileged few, to avoid criminal prosecution, sadly.
HOWEVER, connections is best used for noble purposes like mentoring and coaching for professional growth and development. Our present professional (and at times personal) relationships, if utilized wisely, is a good venue for growth.
Developing our ASK- Attitude, Skills and Knowledge
Spend time with the wise, and you will become wise.. Prov. 13:20a (NCV)
A lot of times, we take for granted our present connections, thus, we don’t benefit from it. For example, some have relatives (or even parents) who are highly successful on their chosen field, but they don’t find time to ask and learn a thing or two from their experience. Likewise, some would rather hate a colleague or boss than learn from them.
Because of too much exposure to western culture, we forgot that we are Asians, and we know how to eat freshly catch fish- we separate the meat and throw the bones.
We live in an imperfect world and are connected to imperfect people. Yes they have shortcomings, these are the bones. But when we allow ourselves to be biased against those with shortcomings, we also forget there are gems of wisdom learned from every failure in life, the meat so to speak. If we use failure to limit our ability to listen, the risk of throwing the meat together with the bone is likely.
How to gain from our connections?
For purposes of this article, let’s limit our discussion on our professional connections. These people are :
- Top and/or Middle management
- Peers, colleagues in business and/or profession
Management as mentor
Bosses are also mentors, ohh well, supposedly. They are supposed to guide and equip subordinates so they can perform their job and carry out management goals. However, because of politics and staff that feels and acts like they are better than the boss, the process is not consummated.
It is to our advantage, though, if we can extract from our bosses the learnings not only on the technical aspect of the job (something we can get from google) but the experiences that made them “a boss”. We may not like or agree how they got the position, it is still a learning and a path we will avoid.
Our attitude will determine how much we can gain from this connection. If we desire their position, it is better to push him/her up, not out. Collaborate rather than compete. While at times our experiences with them may not be pleasant, the experience itself is already a lesson. The connection provides a window to observe, interact and learn.
PEERS as benchmark
Most often, we fail to see how peers can help us. It is easier to accept the people on top as mentors than those alongside or beneath us. Again our attitude determines how much we can learn from this connection. By just observing, we can learn from the mistakes and successes of our peers. Instead of being envious, lets observe with a sharp eye so we can extract wisdom from their actions. Thanks to them, we can now avoid similar mistakes or add to our strategies the lessons from their successes.
If we think and act like we are better than them, we already missed the mark. We may wake up one day with our peers miles ahead of us.
SUBORDINATES as agents of growth
Peers and subordinate connections provide an experience where we can learn to adopt on different situations, and try various management techniques. The worse the experience, the more lessons we learn. These people can make our life thorny by their lack of support, greed and refusal to recognize established authorities. Instead of complaining or getting even, be positive; recognize that their “bad” or “competitive” attitude is a way to hone our skills. These people can be our badge for promotion.
Our attitude determines how much we will learn and gain from our connections. As the saying goes “your attitude determines your altitude”.
The writings below substantiate my point for the need to amplify our attitude.
by: Rev. Charles Swindoll
The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think, say, or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company, a church, a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day.
We cannot change our past. We cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you. We are in charge of our attitudes.
Wanna’ share something? Speak your mind and let’s sharpen each others saw
Founder of LODI Inc. (Learning and Organization Development Institute, Inc.) and Co-Founder of Blogwatch. Mentor and Dad of 2 Gen Z Professionals.
Advocate of #HRinHR (Human Rights in Human Resources) and #DigitalCitizenship
Strategist for Talent, Culture & Content Development, and Cyber Wellness Initiatives
Keynoter and Facilitator of Workplace and Life Learning
Blogging since 2004.