Much has been written over the years about the importance of networking in the workplace. We’ve covered the topic a few times in Winning at Work. Too often though, networking is presented as something reserved for events and social gatherings. But it’s really much more than that.
Organizational networking is the process of building and strengthening relationships within your organization’s environment. It should be a quite natural, organic thing – not a contrivance or a series of techniques. It should be an integral part of the way you go about business at all times .
One of the best practices you can develop is to involve others in the things you’re doing. If you’re working on something that a coworker has expertise on, ask his (her) advice on it. Use him as a sounding board. Bounce ideas off of him. The message is “I value and respect your opinion’ – one of the most powerful messages you can send to anybody. You may be surprised at how positively people will respond to you in future interactions.
Two things to note: The first is to make sure you don’t try to over -involve people. While most people are happy to give you feedback, they have their own things to do. The last thing you want to do is become a pest. The second is to ensure that your colleague gets credit for his input. If something you’re working on gets praise or recognition, give that individual credit for his input (e.g. “Thanks – actually Sandra was a big help in this too!”). You lose nothing by doing this, and your colleague will appreciate the acknowledgement.