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September 28, 2007

Workplace Allies Women Need

By Amanda Rice

Every woman needs workplace allies, there’s no doubt about that. Workplace allies can help you with anything from finding a contact to telling others how fantastic you are at what you do.

And amid your climb up the corporate ladder, it’s important that you recognize the people that fall into the categories below and hang onto them with all your might. After all, no woman is an army.

Check out the following workplace allies, identify them in your life and make sure you do your best to keep them in your arsenal.

Gateway Allies
Often referred to as an administrative assistant or “secretary” in the days of yore, the person who knows what everyone is up to is the Gateway Ally. Not only do these people know the 411 on just about everything that’s happening at the company, but chances are they can sway certain colleagues in a way that is beneficial to you.

And if that weren’t enough, these valuable workplace allies can keep your information under lock and key.

Mentor Allies
Older, wiser colleagues or superiors are excellent for teaching and advising you on how to pave the right path to success. They can help you avoid mistakes they’ve made or have watched others make over the years.

As well, mentors are perfect workplace allies to bounce your ideas off of, ensuring that when it comes time to make a presentation, you come out looking like a professional woman who has her priorities straight.

The No-Man Allies
The problem with the workplace environment today is that there are way too many “yes men” and not enough people who are willing to refute the sometimes ridiculous ideas we think are genial.

You need to find people who can present you with the devil’s advocate scenario at every turn in your professional life. These are the people who will provide sound, thoughtful arguments as to why you may possibly crash and burn if you present your boss with a plan to renovate your office. Everyone needs a wake-up call every now and then, and these workplace allies are perfect for the job.

The Networking Allies
If you didn’t have the foresight to spend all your time networking in college, then you need to have the next best thing by your side: The people who did nothing but network throughout school. Having people who know someone in just about every industry will always bode well in your professional, and even personal, life.

Make sure to go out with these people often, and treat them to dinner and drinks. Oh, and let them suggest the venue.

The Praising Allies
No one likes a brownnoser, no doubt, but having someone besides your mom tell you how fantastic you are every now and then can only work wonders for your ego and your integrity. You will want to be the person that they describe even if you think you’re not that person some of the time.

Sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of what you’ve accomplished over the long-term when you’re constantly stuck in the daily rut of workplace monotony, but these workplace allies will ensure that you know you’re doing a phenomenal job.

The Competitive Allies
In the same vein as needing a challenge in every facet of your life, what better way to set goals for yourself than by having workplace allies who constantly up the ante on you and ensure that you’re never resting on your laurels?

Healthy competition will make certain that you maintain your level of accomplishment and consistently strive to outdo yourself and, of course, your competitive workplace allies.

These people will set standards, sometimes so high, you’ll begin to doubt yourself (see The Praising Ally), but once you reach the finish line, you’ll be so glad to have these people in your professional clique.

Keep your workplace allies close

It’s always important to make friends high places, but it’s more important to make friends that will help you strive to attain your goals.

So make sure you get your workplace allies together and take on the business world, one rung at a time.

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