Tom Rath discovered something surprising that goes against common thinking about the workplace. He discovered that a person having a "best friend at work" is seven times more likely to be engaged in his or her job.
Rath, the best-selling author of How Full Is Your Bucket? and StrengthsFinder 2.0, writes about this in his book, Vital Friends: The People you Can't Afford to Live Without.
The value of Rath's book, in my mind, is that he puts meat on the term friend. He identifies eight different kinds of "vital friends." As I summarize his eight types below, think about people in your own life who fit the various categories:
Builder: a person who motivates you to accomplish things you would not otherwise accomplish.
Champion: a person who sings your praises to others.
Collaborator: a person who has similar interests, and shares those interests with you.
Companion: a person who is always there for you.
Connector: a person who introduces you to others (without being asked!).
Energizer: a person who gives you a boost.
Mind Opener: a person who challenges you to think outside the box.
Navigator: a person who provides guidance for you.
As I read Vital Friends, I couldn't help but think of the people in my life who have filled the roles described by Rath. It was easy for me to see why he calls these friends the people we can't afford to live without. I became especially thankful for them.
Here's one more important thing I thought about as I read Rath's book: whom am I a vital friend for?
Reading this book made me aware that I have a great privilege to be a vital friend for others, and that others need me as much as I need them.
Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor;
If either of them falls down,
one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
and has no one to help them up.
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
Please watch John Beckett, author of Loving Monday, as he shares about a significant group of business leaders he meets with on a regular basis: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IvzPQMGuTpw.