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Help others to help your own career

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in Career Management,Workplace Communication

Sometimes the path to success involves helping others before, or in addition to, helping yourself. That’s certainly been the case for Cinnabon President Kat Cole.

Cole began working at age 15 and volunteered to help every time there was an opening at her various jobs. By age 20, she’d taken on so much added responsibility at the restaurant where she worked that her grades were slipping and she dropped out of college. Instead of completing her engineering studies, Cole traveled the globe opening Hooters restaurants.

Even at such a young age, she’d worked nearly every position in the restaurant simply by helping out when there was an opening. It gave her a perspective that was valued by her company. Being a helper served her well, writes Adam Grant, author of Give and Take.

In studying helpers like Cole, or “givers” as he calls them, Grant has seen patterns emerge that indicate that helping others will boost your career also. Grant attributes this success to two factors: relationships and motivation. Givers build lasting relationships and trust among their colleagues. People remember them and their skills and will come back to them when new opportunities arise.

In terms of motivation, helping others often boosts the giver’s esteem. If they know people are depending on them, they dig deeper to get the job done. They may not be rewarded immediately, but their success will develop over time.

— Adapted from “How to Succeed Professionally by Helping Others,” Adam Grant, The Atlantic.

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