I have to admit I’m a junkie for the Gallup Press line of business books and Tom Rath’s latest Vital Friends is no exception. Rath asserts that we all are motivated and deeply affected by the friends that we keep. They play a key role in how happy we are, whether we stay at our current job, and even the success of our careers.
Vital Friend: noun 1. someone who measurably improves your life. 2. a person at work or in your personal life whom you can’t afford to live without.
Rath goes on to define eight types of vital friends:
- Builder - Motivator and Coach
- Champion – Stand up for you and show loyalty
- Collaborator – Shares a passion with you
- Companion - Always there for you
- Connector – Helps introduce you to others
- Energizer - Help motivate you and make you smile
- Mind Opener – Expand your horizons and introduce new ideas
- Navigator - Advice you on future direction
I’ve found it incredibly useful to reflect on the friends in my life and understand the role they are playing. For example, my wife is my companion, collaborator, and champion. It is important that I appreciate this fact as it has a tremendous influence on my outlook at work.
People with a least three close friends at work were 96% more likely to be extremely satisfied with their life.
Also for people managers out there, understanding the importance of your team members forming vital friends at work is critical. Having them contributes to job satisfaction while the absence can often lead to attrition.
Employees who have a close friendship with their manager are more than 2.5 times as likely to be satisfied with their job.
So stop what you’re doing right now and go make a friend.