September 27, 2018

3 Characteristics to Look Out For to Help Build Your Inner Circle

I’ve been extraordinarily fortunate to curate a group of people in my work life whose advice, ideas, and counsel I have come to rely on to keep me pointed in the right direction. Among them are colleagues, peers and cross-functional partners; all of whom attach tremendous value to any impact I might add. In short, regardless of how good I might be, these people are my “people,” and I am far better at my job because of my relationship with them.

As we know, sometimes people come into our lives in the most odd and unexpected of ways. However, these crucial work relationships aren’t the stuff of happenstance.  They grow over time, built on a foundation of trust, respect and just plain experiencing things together. While you may or may not have a trusted group of your own, you’ll be hard pressed to find any strong leader who doesn’t have an indispensable team of their own. Why? The benefits are huge. From sharing insights and perspectives on how to reach your goals, to helping to decipher what’s getting in your way, these people know us. And if you choose wisely, these people aren’t afraid to hold the mirror up to us and help us address our challenges head-on. They also are the crew that will cheer you on as you achieve the wins along the way.

Eager to establish your own team of trusted advisors?  Look for these three characteristics as you find your people...and aim to operate similarly to add value to them.


When we deeply connect with someone, it’s largely built on mutual support and respect. Search for people who are generous with their time and ideas, and commit to reciprocating.  These charitable people won’t just sit by and listen; they are the people who you can let your guard down with. Through the strength of a trusting relationship, you dare each other to expand your mindsets and possibilities.


Seek out people who are courageously authentic. You can count on them to share the good, the bad and the ugly with you, and you can do the same with them. You allow yourselves to be vulnerable with each other, and in doing so, create an environment where addressing the truth paves a positive path forward.


Life, procrastination, competing priorities...there are a host of things that can get in our way on the path to accomplishing our goals. You might be self-motivated, but finding someone who can aid you in following through on your commitments is a gift.  Whether it’s providing you with tough love or cheering you on through the tough bits, these people help us achieve true change.

Whether it’s in our personal or professional lives, we all have a perspective on the benefit that comes with these vital relationships in our lives.  Regardless of how talented we might be, enlisting the advice and perspectives from the people we truly trust is a critical success factor in nurturing our careers.

Christina Luconi is Chief People Officer for Rapid7. Follow her on Twitter: @peopleinnovator