You need to make sure that you have your boss’s buy in on your spending time attending industry events, otherwise her lack of support can be a significant hurdle. There are several things you can do to help make sure that her mindset is only a hurdle, rather than a total roadblock.
Balancing work and industry events
Balancing work and industry events in your busy organization is not easy. Engaging with industry associations can become harder if your boss doesn’t support the concept. Your boss may feel that industry association meetings are just social or networking events “dressed-up” to look like a work-related event. Your boss may believe that engaging with your industry is not a productive use of time, or she may think that any industry-related activities should be done “off-the-clock.”
Your ego and inner critic play a big role in how you participate at work.
You may not realize it, but you tell yourself hundreds of stories every day. I don’t mean stories that you share with others about what happened to you when you were a toddler, in college, or at the mall last week. I’m referring to the dozens of stories that you tell yourself every day to explain why something bad happened or why another person is behaving poorly. These stories come from your ego and inner critic.
Carl wants to participate – honestly he does
“Oh, no,” Carl says to himself as an email from his boss slowly unfolds before his eyes. “Not another team building offsite!” Like a hungry ant craving a watermelon for lunch, Carl wonders how to digest this news. Blink. Blink. Blink. He stares at the light on his office phone, silently reminding himself that he has messages waiting. Buzz. Buzz. Buzz.
Coming next, we’ll take a look at participating purposefully. You may be wondering what the difference is between interacting and participating. In the Raise Your Visibility & Value model, interacting is defined as “one-to-one” interactions with colleagues, while participating is defined as “one-to-many” experiences with colleagues.
In today’s ever-evolving organizations, the most important relationship you will have is with your boss. Your boss is accountable for the activities on which you focus. Organization leaders will come to your boss for feedback on your performance. Your boss is the author of your annual performance appraisal. Your success in your organization is dramatically impacted by the impression your boss has of you.
It is important to understand the difference between an interaction and a relationship as you work to raise your visibility in your organization and industry. I defined interacting as “the degree to which you engage one-to-one with colleagues.” While interactions are one way to raise your visibility, it is inevitable that some interactions will begin to build a relationship.
Relationship is one of those words that we use often, yet we find it hard to define when asked. Consider the following as a definition for “relationship:”
There is no doubt that networking is a very important activity. Networking is the primary type of interaction for individuals looking for a job or who are self-employed. By focusing on networking, these individuals build relationships that allow them to make progress in finding their next opportunity, whether that opportunity is a job or a sale.
The degree to which you interact with others is similar to the nature versus nurture philosophy that we hear or read about regarding human development. In scholarly articles published on this topic, nature typically refers to characteristics you have inherited. These characteristics may include hair color, vulnerability to disease, and personality preferences. Nurture typically refers to characteristics you have developed through interaction with your environment. These characteristics may include language, social perspectives, and opinions.