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How to Develop Alliances at work


An ally is an associate who provides assistance and often, friendship. Your allies are likely to support your views and causes. They help solve problems, provide advice, act as a sounding board when you need a listening ear and offer a different perspective so you can view your organization more broadly.


Alliance-building takes time, effort, commitment and sometimes not getting what you want. But, if you want to accomplish your personal work mission, assuming that your mission is positive and congruent with your organization’s mission, you must have allies at work. Here are ten tips that will help you develop work alliances that will help you accomplish your work mission.


Effective communication forms the foundation for a positive work alliance. You need to be able to tell your potential ally what you need and listen deeply to what they need. Open lines of communication keep information, opinions and support flowing.


Treat your allies as equals. No matter their position within your organization, all people are equal; they just have different jobs. Believe this. Act as if you believe this every single day. You will attract strong and successful alliances.


Show total professionalism. Never participate in gossip or in discussing the business of coworkers behind their backs. People will trust you and know that what they tell you is safe in your hands. Alliances only work when trust is present.


Spend time with your allies. Be available to listen, to strategize and to occasionally eat lunch together. You must take the time to develop strong relationships with your allies.


When working on a project together, always put forth your best efforts. Be the person who is willing to do extra to strengthen the collaboration and the outcome or product. Produce work that allies are proud to support.


Choose your battles wisely. Give in on the little decisions, or the decisions that appear to be much more important to the coworker. You’ll more easily gain support for the decisions that are important to you.


Keep your promises. If you say you will do something, do it. It is a matter of developing trust.


Resolve any conflicts or disputes at your earliest opportunity. Unresolved conflict undermines alliance-building and mutual, purposeful progress toward accomplishing personal and organizational missions.


Be an ally. Support your colleague’s ability to accomplish his or her mission, too. Give credit for ideas and solutions. Publicly express support for your ally’s desired direction.


Finally, never betray or cheat an ally. If you have a problem with their actions, talk to your ally directly. Don’t talk to their boss or your boss because if that is the first person your ally hears from about a problem, you have blown the most fundamental understanding of an alliance.



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