7 ways leaders can spur career growth through honest connections

Honest feedback from colleagues is one of the best ways to improve yourself, though finding people who are willing to offer constructive criticism can often be difficult, according to the Harvard Business Review.

Here are seven steps leaders can take to cultivate a group of honest colleagues to help achieve their career goals:

1. Think about the people who inspire you. These people can be anyone from authors, entrepreneurs or co-workers. You should aim to only surround yourself with people who inspire you.

2. Don't be afraid to chase. If you identify people you want to connect with, don't be hesitant to reach out to them or introduce yourself at conferences or other professional networking opportunities.

3. Aim for a mix of people in and outside your organization. Organizational diversity ensures a difference of perspective as well as access to a wider range of opportunities.

4. Be candid about the reason for your interest. Do not hide your reasons for reaching out to people. If they are genuinely passionate, they will be excited to connect and help you improve yourself and your career prospects.

5. Ask them specifically about how to get started. Don't be afraid to ask about how you can get started on your professional goals.

6. Proactively offer them help. These relationships are two-way streets, so do not just sit back and wait for their help;  offer any advice and any services that might be welcome.

7. Have crucial conversations in the right settings. Some conversations just cannot take place remotely, so take the time to travel and meet your colleagues face-to-face when you are able.

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