Imagine you’re assigned to a new project at work with new team members, whom you know very little about. Would you likely dive right into the project, or are you the type who wants to get to know your new colleagues a bit before charging ahead?
If you’ve ever taken the GlobeSmart Profile, you likely have a good idea of whether you are more task or relationship-oriented. The next step is knowing how this affects you at work.
If you’re more task-focused, you may prioritize the work on your plate ahead of establishing relationships with new team members. Those who fall into the relationship-focused category often first focus on developing relationships with colleagues before getting to work on projects and tasks.
While one style is not better than the other, in certain circumstances, one style may be more advantageous over the other. Learning how to style-shift from one work-style to the other can be highly beneficial and the key to getting ahead in your career.
Hyper-focusing on getting work done for a tight deadline is mandatory to excel in almost any position. At the same time, developing relationships throughout an organization is important for expanding influence and credibility. Both work-styles are important in different scenarios, and both are equally important for moving up in the workplace.
It’s crucial to identify when you can let your natural work-style preference flow, and when you need to conscientiously adapt your work style to fit the given circumstances. Try to actively look for opportunities to exercise your work-style adaptability. Pay close attention to colleagues’ work-style preferences, and try to accommodate work styles when you can. It will make co-workers eager to work with you and allow projects to run smoothly.
Of course, switching your work style is easier said than done. To help push you outside of your typical work-style comfort zone, here is some advice for reflecting and considering your work priorities.
Finding a mentor can help you better understand your industry, look at your role from a different perspective, and strategically plan how to get to the next level of your career. Receiving feedback and guidance from an established professional in your field is an excellent way to improve in your current role while learning how to play up your strengths and accommodate any areas of weakness.
If you are an individual who is largely task-oriented, the idea of reaching out to find a mentor might not be on the top of your priority list. You might be more inclined to focus on completing a certificate or online course to achieve new credentials in your area. However, seeking mentorship is a very effective way to get ahead in your industry, as it opens up new networks, provides insider knowledge, and allows for one-on-one advice. If this isn’t on your “to-do” list consider adding it (near the top!).
When working on a revenue-driving project with a tight deadline, you will need to be more task-focused. This is a great opportunity for more relationship-oriented individuals to style-switch and learn how to adapt when the situation calls for it.
To be successful in this instance, try to be hyper-aware of the time you spend on building new relationships and attempt to scale back while focusing on this project. Instead, focus your energy on strengthening current relationships by working closely with the individuals on this project. Try to set goals with a team member, as this will hold you accountable and also bring a sense of camaraderie and closeness among the two of you.
While it is important to focus on tasks to move this project forward, remember to openly discuss the project schedule, goals, and objectives with team members. Talking through ideas can often help clarify things, and spread motivation and energy throughout the team. Remember, you can always ask for help in terms of managing deadlines or delegating tasks to get this project done – the key is being open enough to reach out for assistance.
When trying to expand your influence, whether it be within your organization or on a greater scale within your whole field, it is critical to take the time and energy to get to know key thought-leaders, influencers, stars-on-the-rise.
If you work remotely or in an office located away from headquarters, this may be more difficult. It will likely take a considerable amount of energy to understand who you need to build rapport with, and the best way to go about connecting with them. Because relationship-building doesn’t necessarily occur during your typical day-to-day, it can be important for individuals who are task-leaning to make a conscious effort to reach out and set aside time to chat with colleagues and key industry players they don’t often communicate with.
Remember: building relationships takes time. This is not a one-time item that can be checked off a list. Try to keep relationship-building an ongoing priority, whether you’re across the world or in the same hub as colleagues and thought leaders.
If you are either orientation and want to become a better leader, remember…
Every successful employee, manager, and leader shares a mix of these two orientations. You need to work hard and reach deadlines, but you can’t always do it alone.
If you fall far to one side of the spectrum don’t fret. Take the GlobeSmart Profile to confirm where you stand on this work style dimension, and then try to become self-aware of when you are exhibiting this work-style behavior. Once you are aware, you can consciously try to style-shift to help accommodate your colleagues and make projects run smoother. This will help you build a lucrative and thriving career.
Tessah Clark (B.A., M.A.) is an Intercultural Content Expert at Aperian Global. Outside of her passion for writing and international travel, she has a deep appreciation for working for a company that helps build bridges across cultures. Tessah studied in France and Russia before going to post-secondary and receiving a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology. She conducted policy research abroad in Daejeon, South Korea, before receiving her Master’s Degree in Intercultural and International Communication. Tessah completed her Master’s residency at Zhejiang University, in Hangzhou, China and currently resides in Vancouver, BC.