How to develop a more symbiotic working relationship with the higher ups
Updated: Jul 24
When we enter a new workplace either as graduates or as professionals, we often have this desire to understand the organization and make the most of our roles to grow in that workplace. For that, we often find ourselves looking up to the senior management of the company. Within the parameters of our thoughts we wonder, how do these leaders manage the reigns of the business, from where did they develop the skills and how is it that they know exactly what to do at the right moments. Ambitious employees often find themselves proactively seeking opportunities to work with these leaders and mirroring their capabilities.
While in some cases, the leaders might not be as charismatic as they appear to be, other times, they also aim to pass on their knowledge and expertise to enthusiastic employees willing to hold the reigns of their beloved organization. Management often finds itself seeking successors who share the vision of growing their company. Therefore, we unconsciously encounter a scenario, where both parties are looking into developing a more profound and symbiotic relationship with each other. Both parties are looking into mutually benefiting from each other.
'Symbiosis' is defined as a relationship between two organisms from which at least one of the benefits
Before we look into the details of how to develop such a relationship, let us look into a psychological concept called Maslow's hierarchy of needs. This concept meticulously defines the basic needs every human being has and how satisfaction of the primal needs will lead to our personal rise in the hierarchy of needs. This concept can be related to the desires of human beings as they grow in their careers.
When we are in the early stages of our career, it is our tendency to look for jobs that can offer security for our very basic needs of food, water security, and safety. Therefore, we usually look for roles and companies that can guarantee the satisfaction of our physiological and safety needs. When we grow further in our careers, we are usually well equipped with means to satisfy the needs at the very base of the triangle and therefore, as human beings, we yearn for something greater. We look for avenues and roles which then satisfy our belonging, esteem and self-actualization needs. We cherish the thought of feeling associated with the organization we have dedicated our time & efforts. We feel pride and a sense of accomplishment if, we feel, that we have achieved a full potential of activities. So much so that, we can be a guide to someone who shares our vision and is willing to grow.
This is where the aha moment happens for us at both stages of our career. When we are at the early stages, we tend to seek leaders, who can guide us in fulfilling our primal needs and further help us reaching to the top of the hierarchy. When we are at the top of the chain, we have the opportunity to use our skills to guide and Micro-mentor those who are at the early stages. This is the very moment, where in-experienced or new employees feel the need to develop a symbiotic relationship with the higher-ups. This relationship may be mutually beneficial and therefore, symbiotic.
The next question which comes to our mind is how to grow these relationships? I believe that the following tips can be useful in developing the same:
1. Communicate: As defined by the hierarchy pyramid above, every human being needs to have the satisfaction of their primal needs, before moving up in the hierarchy. New or inexperienced employees should understand, that a person working in senior management has gone through a similar phase in their life. Therefore, they can understand and empathize with the new employee's situation. This empathy then leads to a desire to help. Therefore, by communicating a new or inexperienced employee can easily seek a mentor in senior management.
2. Participate: Employees need to understand that at some point, the senior management is looking for its successors. Enthusiastic and proactive employees often radiate the sign of taking an interest in the company. Therefore, whenever employees have a meeting with the senior management, they should be more participate in every town-hall discussion, stand down meetings, or activities that might be happening. One wise question can simply add credibility in the eyes of the management. Therefore, one should be vigilant of such opportunities.
3. Listening and learning: If a new or inexperienced employee does get an opportunity to learn from his idols in the leadership, the employee should be ready and radiate a positive desire to learn. Such can be done by using 'active listening' skills and implementing the insights they learn from the relationship in their routine tasks and work. Mirroring the habits and value additions of the senior management, often makes them notice the employee and consider them has a valid successor.
4. Showcasing and articulating performance: Amidst learning and communicating, employees should not forget that management ultimately desires results. An excellent performer is always noticed in the eyes of management and they are even more motivated to mentor them. However, performing in silence should also be avoided. One needs to learn the skill of articulation to communicate their results to the management and showcase the ways in which these results are contributing to the growth of the organization.
5. Demonstrate: Finally, the employee might land in a situation where management will test their skills by assigning responsibilities. It can be impromptu or planned. When this happens, the employee should be well prepared to demonstrate their capabilities. Even if the employee has a cordial working relationship with the management, the demonstration will enable the relationship to become sustainable. Management will have confidence in the employee and thus would be willing to mentor them on various occasions.
We at Headstrt, advocate the above concept and therefore, believe in developing symbiotic relationships with the senior management. If an employee makes an effort to develop such relationships, it not only benefits them but also the stakeholders of the company. We believe that Micro-mentoring can be a useful outcome of developing such relationships. Peer to peer mentoring, which forms the basis of our product, would be an even better avenue that can be explored after developing relationships with the higher-ups. Just imagine, how insightful will it be to receive one on one mentoring from the leader you admire the most! What would be even more fruitful is if we can grow under the guidance of that leader to reach the goals we have always aimed for.
We can't wait to see you build a more symbiotic relationship with the mentor of your choice. Our platform opens you to opportunities well beyond the boundaries of your current organization. If you wish to seek more, come to join our community today.