You don’t need a formal contract, an intentional handshake, a dedicated conversation or a partnership agreement to realize that you have work partners. You have them whether you work on a team or work alone. Your partners can be your office mates, your trusted colleagues, your team members, or the whole darn company. Your partnerships might include your customers, your suppliers and even the cleaning person who keeps your trash basket empty and your paper towel dispenser full. Liking your partners is often a bonus. Your partners just exist with or without your say so. They exist because people need other people to provide products and services.
Understanding the kind of work partner you are and the kind of work partner(s) you need can help you clarify your market, find a job, work comfortably for others, select an office mate or build a network of colleagues. Connecting and working with the kind of partners that put you in a zone of productivity can be a significant boost to your life and your work.
After starting with a list of qualities I offered as a work partner, I found that I wanted similar qualities from a work partner. In essence, I wanted someone who shared my values. The list I created could be my list for finding a job or hiring employees as well. It works. It defines the type of person I am, can work with, and can work around. It even has some relevance in describing the work I do with clients.
Here’s part of the Work Partner Requirements list I made for finding an officemate several years ago.
- In service to the same cause
- Enjoys exchanging ideas
- Looking to create something more than can be done alone
- Self aware (with the ability to converse about it in relation to work)
- Family oriented and looking to create a work family
Writing my list took me more than a minute or two, and it was worth it. I brainstormed many ideas that did not make it to the final list. Either they were not really true for me (organized, neat freak), simply foolish to request of others (likes to take ice cream breaks), or were things I was supposed to want in a work partner (professional, time conscious, quiet). Some items on my list applied, but were not mandatory; I could live without those qualities (detail oriented, workhorse, wise sage).
Your list probably won’t be the same as mine. We each have our own top values and need to work along side different types of people. If I were the highly competitive type, I might even want work partners who have different values than me. It’s up to you. Who do you want to work with?
Would identifying your ideal work partner(s) help you in building your business, aligning your work, creating a network, or finding a job? Give it a try. You might just discover why your current work rocks your socks, or what about it makes you want to move on.
I’d enjoy hearing about the impact your ideal or less than ideal Work Partner has on you. Write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.