Just about every day I hear from someone in what I will refer to as ‘my tribe’. My tribe consists of people who I rely upon professionally, and for a variety of different talent sets. There are numerous other terms which could be potentially applied to describe this group, but I kind of like this term. Why? Mainly because it encompasses multiple dimensions of the varied professional reasons people are in my tribe.
Others might prefer to use the term professional network, but when I use the words professional tribe, I’m thinking of a much different type of network. The people in your professional tribe may in fact filter in an out of it. Consider the expression I recently heard about relationships. Some people are in your life for a reason, some a season and some for a lifetime. This reference describes my thinking about my tribe quite well.
How do people end up in your tribe? The expression above helps to summarize how it happens. I think of tribes as being an organic experience. One that you don’t have to think too much about. It simply evolves. In my opinion, if you rely upon your instincts, you will have the right type of people you need in your tribe to be there when you need them to be.
For instance, this morning I received a text from someone in my tribe who was asking for advice on how to handle an employment scenario. My advice was to think about how the receiver of the information would value the information being shared. I asked them to consider if their response would strengthen their brand, have a neutral impact, or detract from how they are perceived.
If you have the advantage of meeting new people often, and even if you do not, you should always be seeking out opportunities to do so. For the record, I’m always thinking about when I meet someone if I want them to be part of my tribe. Yes, this may seem self-serving, but I don’t look at it that way. I look at it from the perspective of how we can mutually and positively impact one another professionally by being aligned. When I think about my alliances from this point of view, the relationship generally ends up being a solid and balanced one.
In one of my recent articles called “Who Balances You”, I talked about the importance of having people in your life sphere who help you to have a more balanced life. When we are out of balance, it tends to negatively impact multiple areas in our life. If you have any experience with walking…yes, I’m being sarcastic, when you are walking and feeling unsteady, this is the same principle as not having balance in your life. It’s easy enough to correct this, but occasionally we need some support to put us back on track to feel steady.
Most people have some form of a tribe, and the tribes we have are often separated personally and professionally. Some are mixed, and this can have benefits and drawbacks. I would argue there are more benefits to having mixed personal and professional tribes. Think about it from this perspective. Do you have someone you work with that you would consider to be a good friend? Perhaps a best friend? I hope you do, as this person can make being at work much more satisfying, especially on the days when you might be struggling with something.
Even if your work friend tribe member isn’t at the same level professionally as you are, they will undoubtedly have insights and be a good listener. If you are lucky, more often than not, they might even have some good advice for you. Although, sometimes you are not in need of advice, and it’s OK to tell them that. Since the nature of my work often involves coaching, and making suggestions and providing advice when asked, it’s critical to keep in mind not everyone wants to hear our advice or guidance.
Some people like to figure things out on their own, and don’t respond well when others attempt to help them. Knowing this, I often will ask someone if they really want advice given to them. This is always a good strategy to apply, and both parties will be happier if the “upfront contract” of understanding what the other person really wants or needs is respected.
I consider myself fortunate to have a wide tribe of people I count on for support from both a professional and personal perspective. Take some time today to consider and be thankful for those who are in your tribe. You are lucky to have them in it, and I’m sure others feel that way about you too.
Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of Market Me Too. She is a Gallup Certified Strengths Finder Coach, author of Wisdom Whisperer, and is a well-respected motivational and social influencer with a global following from her numerous speaking, print, radio and television media appearances. She also is the creator and Host of a TV Show and Podcast called Murf & E Unfiltered – Zero BS Biz Talk.
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