Without a best buddy at work, the chances of your being engaged in your job are only one in 12. So says Tom Rath, author of Vital Friends: The People You Can’t Afford to Live Without (Gallup Press).
His advice? Cultivate “vital friends” at work to improve more than just your on-the-job performance. Based on Gallup research, Rath says, people “with at least three close friends at work [are] 96 percent more likely to be extremely satisfied with their life.”
Vital friends are not people you share gripes with over lunch. They’re people who improve your life measurably. Do you have them?
They fall into one of the following eight roles:
1. Builders help you see your strengths and advise you on how best to use them. They’ll never compete with you and will always be standing at the finish line to cheer you on.
2. Champions are the friends who “have your back” and will advocate for you when you’re not around to defend yourself. They’re your strongest supporters.
3. Collaborators share your passion for sports, hobbies, religion, politics, music or books. They’re often lifelong friends, people with whom you’re most likely to spend your time.
4. Companions. When something big happens in your life, good or bad, these are the people you call first.
5. Connectors get to know you, then connect you with others who share your interests or goals. If you need a job, a doctor, a friend or a date, call a Connector.
6. Energizers are always there to boost your spirits. They can turn a good day into an even better one. Call an Energizer when you need a laugh or a bit of relaxation in your day.
7. Mind Openers stretch your viewpoint and introduce you to new ideas, cultures and people. They come up with creative solutions to problems and allow you to express opinions that you might be uncomfortable articulating to others.
8. Navigators are the friends you seek out when you need guidance and counsel. They’re great at talking through your options.