Nancy D. O’Reilly’s new book, Leading Women: 20 Influential Women Share Their Secrets to Leadership, Business and Life, talks about how the future of business is all about connecting. We connected with O’Reilly recently to learn how the advice in her book applies to administrative professionals, and she told us connecting is an important part of their work.
Because admin professionals interact with so many people, they have opportunities to make connections every day, she explains. One of the best ways to do that: Ask people how they got to where they are and the lessons they have learned. “People do like to tell their story. The lessons they learned and share with you can create positive relationships.”
O’Reilly also recommends finding a mentor. Approach someone you’d like to learn from and tell her you’d like to find out more about how she got where she is. People are generally positive about providing help when asked, and making that connection can help you learn new skills and create new opportunities, O’Reilly says.
Some of her other tips for connecting include:
• Set goals for connecting. Pick a number of people you want to meet per month, and hold yourself to it. Find ways to nurture the relationships.
• Branch out at work. Join a committee or ask to sit in on departmental meetings. By getting outside of your comfort zone, you can meet new people, learn and grow.
• Give back. If you’re asked to be a mentor, step up and participate.
• Take a class. Look for ways to further your education, both for your own interests and for your work. Talk to others in the class about their interests and motivation for taking the class. Pursue knowledge when you have the chance.
People want to have stronger professional relationships in the workplace, O’Reilly says. Success happens when people are all trying to accomplish something together, she says.