Alliances at work

Building alliance in the workplace can not only be helpful, but critical to your career progression. I look at how to do this authentically.

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Alliances at work are really important and help you in many scenarios. For example, have you ever been in a workplace that is highly political? Riddled with conflict? Or perhaps where someone - a peer or even your boss - claims credit for your work? Perhaps you're working on a new innovation the needs support and air cover to have any chance of success.

Having allies can help you in each of these scenarios. Allies can provide not only moral support but also practical support in navigating the workplace and ultimately being more effective and successful. 

So, who makes a good ally?

  1. Someone you like! Forming alliances isn't about manipulating people, it's about authentic relationships that can be mutually supportive. So it tends to start with people you like and respect.
  2. Your boss. I've had great bosses who have provided air cover for a change that we both knew was important, but for which there was significant resistance at the outset. He gave the space for the idea to be heard and ultimately supported.
  3. Peers. Friendly peers can help provide moral support as well as practical support. They can be a sounding board for your ideas, helping you to refine them before sharing them more widely, and they can advocate for you in public and while you're not there.
  4. Gatekeepers. IT support people, Exec Assistants - anyone with access to information, expertise or resources. Again, this isn't about a self-serving relationship, it's about providing mutual support and assistance.

These tips and others are covered in my latest blog: Top tips for getting ahead in the workplace.

** Also, our new Women's Career Accelerator Programme explores many of these topics in more detail. Our next intake starts on the 12th October - click here to find out more!    

Sharon Peake

Founder, CEO and Executive Coach, Shape Talent Ltd

I am an experienced business leader and executive coach with over 20 years' experience in global blue chip businesses focused on career development for individuals and strategic people management for organisations.

Over the course of my career I have interviewed thousands of individuals and helped organisations select and grow the best talent. I know what helps careers, and I know what hinders careers. I truly believe that the world would be a better place with as many women as men running companies, which led me to establish Shape Talent - a gender diversity coaching and consulting business geared at accelerating gender equality in business and beyond.

In my coaching work I specialise in helping women leaders and executives to achieve their potential, navigate career transitions and ensure a fulfilling and rewarding career. As a Chartered Occupational Psychologist I bring a psychological perspective to my coaching, looking at the underlying factors that influence the way we behave and respond to situations. Where it helps the client I can use a range of psychometric assessments to bring greater clarity and self-awareness to patterns of behaviour. My clients describe me as insightful, open, warm, encouraging and focused on ensuring the client’s success.