CEO’s have mastermind advisory groups. Managers have other managers from which to seek advice. Do you take advantage of having an accountability buddy?

If you are part of a team you hopefully have people around you, at least virtually, with which to talk to about work projects. You might find support in a teammate, a friend, or a mentor.

During Covid most of the workforce was sent home to shelter in place. Gone were the casual conversations you had over the water cooler, talking about sports or your favorite book or Netflix series. Obliterated were the team experiences participating in walks for charity. Even before Covid loneliness was fast becoming a widespread problem at work. Nearly half of Americans reported “sometimes” or “always” feeling alone or left out, according to a survey by Cigna Health, based on the University of California—Los Angeles Loneliness Scale. Good relationships with co-workers can play a major role in decreasing loneliness.

At this point in time no one knows when or how we will return to work? If there is another major Covid outbreak, we may have to struggle through another winter at home. And even if we do return to work, what will the rules be? Will proof of a vaccine be required? Will there be a mask mandate to protect from those who cannot or will not get a vaccine?

If you are an entrepreneur, then you were most likely already working all alone in a vacuum, and Covid-19 simply made the situation worse. Why struggle all alone trying to figure out how to be successful? Find another entrepreneur in a similar profession, perhaps through an association of your peers to share ideas and get support.

Taking Covid into consideration, you can still find a virtual solution for working with an accountability buddy. The value of an accountability buddy is that sometimes you’re not quite sure how to attack a difficult situation. You might be dreading a difficult conversation with a client, such as one who is always demanding a lot of your time. A co-worker might be causing you grief on a project. You might be feeling burned out and just need a listening ear. You may need support creating a presentation or writing some sort of report. While it is your manager’s job to help you with your project work, they might not be as emotionally intelligent as you’d wish and may not have gotten proper training at promotion time. Also you might want the kind of help they cannot or will not provide.

The person you choose should be someone you trust deeply and from whom you can seek advice as well as share celebrations with. Much success can come from having a “best friend at work.”

The relationship can take on different forms: 

  • Temporary basis to help you create a presentation for management about a task force you are supporting. 
  • Ongoing help to prepare you for a promotion and to support you in getting your name into the hat.

One way to work with your accountability partner is to set a regular meeting day with the added commitment that you’ll be available when you say you will. Whomever you choose, make sure that person has the time and the capability to work with you.

Tips for asking for help

  • When asking someone to be your partner be clear about what specific help you need and how long you might need that help. A partnership might work on a weekly or monthly schedule. Or you might just need one or two visits to work out a particular difficulty. 
  • If the first person you ask says no do not be discouraged. They simply might be under a lot of pressure and not available at the time you ask. 
  • Identify two or three people to ask so that when one says no you can move on to the next one. 
  • Be respectful of other people’s time. When it’s time for your meetings, be on time and be prepared. 

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. People like helping other people and have gotten help themselves along the way.

Enlisting help from a coach or accountability partner is one of the best ways you can grow your career and understand what steps you need to get there. Go for it.