Are Your Friends at Work Holding You Back?

No one likes to admit this, but if you want to advance in your company, hard work and a solid track record won’t be enough. You need to have a great reputation within your office–and that’s determined in large part by whom you spend time with.

Here are five ways to tell if your network will help you succeed–or hold you back.

  1. Are They Whiners and Complainers? Every job has its challenges, and no company is without problems. If you’re hanging with a co-worker who constantly gripes about the boss, working conditions or just life in general, your morale will suffer–and so will your reputation. Malcontents are viewed as an unproductive, corrosive influence.
  2. Are They the Office Slackers? Every office has someone who spends half their day schmoozing or tending to personal business. No matter how industrious you are, you’ll be tarred by association if you spend every coffee break with the slacker.
  3. Do They Have Anything to Teach You? Your network shouldn’t consist solely of people just like you. It’s natural to be drawn to someone who has kids the same age as yours, graduated from the same business school or also is a Yankees fan. But if you want to get ahead, you need relationships with colleagues who have different skills, experience and knowledge. Who do you respect in your company? Who has capabilities and accomplishments that you admire?

Find out the other two steps by reading the rest of the article on BNET.

Dorie Clark is CEO of Clark Strategic Communications and the author of Reinventing You. She is a strategy consultant who has worked with clients including Google, the National Park Service, and Yale University. Listen to her podcasts or follow her on Twitter.