Editors Pick

Why you need to have a happy workforce

7th September 2023

Building Success: The Importance of Role Models

Stuart Thomson

In the ever-evolving world of work, navigating the complexities of one’s career path can often feel like a daunting journey into uncharted territory. However, there exists a guiding light that can illuminate the path and offer invaluable wisdom – look for a workplace role model.

These role models can be found within your current organisation or beyond its boundaries.

There may be an obvious person that you can immediately see. Others, you may see more from a distance, learning about them through friends or seeing their activity and presence online.

A good role model can play a vital role in shaping your professional growth, offering insights, and providing a vision for the future.

Why Seek a Role Model?

At the heart of the quest for a role model is the simple truth that we all learn better when we have examples to follow.

A role model could be useful when looking for a future path but also when seeking help with dealing with a particular challenge. They demonstrate what can be achieved and how.

You need to seek a role model that allows you to:

1. Learn from experience: Consider role models that possess a wealth of experience. All the experiences that they have gathered – positive and negative – can offer valuable lessons to you. By considering the choices they made and the consequences that followed, you gain insight that you can consider applying to your own challenges.
2. Expand skills: Role models can broaden your horizons by introducing new perspectives, approaches, and new skills. You may need specific support in developing these skills through, for instance, training.
3. Be motivated and inspired: Simply being a witness to the success of others can be a powerful motivator, especially when you can see how they deserve that success. A role model shows you what you can achieve and what new horizons await you.

Role models can be ‘in person’ or can be ‘silent.’ An ‘in person’ role model would be someone you can engage with. This would be helpful when it comes to building a network. They can introduce you to others in their professional circles. But even a ‘silent’ role model can be of use. This may be someone you follow online, for instance, on LinkedIn to learn from posts, see who they are inspired by, and take note of recommendations they make.

Where to Find a Role Model

Identifying a role model can be a challenge in itself. Consider the following steps:

1. What are your immediate goals? Look for a role model whose career is in line with what you want to achieve. Are you all about a career? Are you looking for balance? Do you have caring or parenting needs? Look for those who have been on a similar path.
2. What do you stand for? Do you hold specific values? If so, make sure the role model is aligned with them.
3. Are they available? If you are looking for ‘in-person’ support, then you need to be able to make contact, and they need to have some capacity to offer help and assistance.
4. Do you need more than one? There is no harm in having more than one role model. It is unlikely that any one person will be able to offer all the help you will need. Those needs can change over time, so the role model/s may need to change as well. You can have multiple role models.

If you can secure a role model, then just think about the learning benefits and also the confidence it instils, along with a greater sense of self-worth. There may even be emotional support available to you from someone who really understands what you are going through.

A role model can provide clarity of direction that may otherwise be missing in a workplace or career. The mix of wisdom, guidance, and inspiration offered by a role model will put you on the right path. Seek yours out now.

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