Career growth is largely dependent on your interpersonal skills. Close relationships with peers, managers, mentors, sponsors and coaches will help you on your growth curve. Build a strong network with focus on the quality of that network rather than the quantity or numbers therein.
Cultivate and develop relationships with your peers and managers at the workplace. Recognize that your managers, manage and guide you and so they may be your coach also. However, it is better to look for external coaches who are not related to your job.
Role of a Coach
Identify people within the company, on your own team or from another team, who can help you understand concepts better, hone your existing skills and advise you on the skill sets you are lacking in. A coach is a person who will help you improve on what you already know and are doing.
Role of a Mentor
Secondly, look for a mentor. Understand that a mentor is a person who is focussed on your personal and professional future growth. A mentor will help you recognize your strengths. Then drawing on their own experiences they will teach you to develop and use those skills for your own development.
Role of a Sponsor
The next important person would be a sponsor. A sponsor is someone who will position you when an opportunity arises and vouch for your capabilities. A sponsor is a person who has access to opportunities arising within the company and who has a say in the decision making to fill those positions with the right candidate.
Importance of Strong Network
Strong networking and interpersonal skills is another important aspect to develop. Good networking on social and professional level will help you immensely. A valuable network is based not just on the number of connections you have but on the quality of that network. A responsive set of contacts is something you need to invest time on and cultivate and nurture.
Career growth is something that requires focus and contacts, over and above, knowledge and competence. Interpersonal skills are of vital importance and it would be prudent to nurture and develop deep relationships and contact with the right people in the right places.