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Networking is often seen as a way to advance personal goals, but connecting with other professionals within your organisation is a key component of achieving departmental and organisational goals as well.

Senior employees carry a wealth of experience at their disposal, while those lower in the hierarchy can lend a new perspective. Sometimes connecting with professionals of varying hierarchies in other departments can also open new doors in co-operation within departments.

Here are the directions to explore when attempting to build connections within your organisation:

Upward. This refers to relationships we establish with our immediate manager(s) and those senior in rank. It is a conscious approach to connect with senior management to achieve organisational and departmental goals. Of course, since this can be mistaken with political manoeuvring, care must be taken when establishing relationships to not break the actual chain of command or you may run the risk of being ‘disconnected’ permanently from the organisational network.

Downward. To borrow from a popular saying, ‘behind every successful manager is his/her team’. Often, managers mistake their position to mean that they should only deal with subordinates when completing or delegating specific tasks. But having a well-knit team means knowing what each employee’s strengths, weaknesses and personal attitudes are. So take time to get to know your own team better.

Lateral. Lateral connectivity is about bonding with your peers. In today’s competitive workplace, try not to move up at the expense of pulling down a peer. You may instantly damage not just one link but may end up alienating yourself from the rest of the group. Take your peers into confidence and seek their advice when faced with difficult tasks and who knows they may even volunteer to help you out in a tough situation.

Organisational. An organisation’s vision, mission and culture might seem like abstract ideas. But employees who make sense of them speak with pride when asked about where they work. To feel ‘connected’ with your organisation, speak with everyone, especially those who set directions about where the company needs to go (and those affected by these decisions). You might find that it is more than just business that defines a workplace.

– Jason Pereira
The writer is an HR professional at a multinational company.

First published in the Careers Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on September 30, 2012.