Workplace competition is tough enough without infighting between coworkers. This article suggests ways for colleagues to more effectively interact with each other. The author’s focus is on developing a proactive support network in the workplace – an “affinity group” – that can be used to empower its members. The best of such groups welcome and mentor new staff, aid in career planning and goal-setting, and host career and personal development workshops and technical forums.

The author offers advice to women interested in organizing an affinity group, warning that it’s not for the faint of heart. She suggests that a core group meet off-site to create a strategy, develop clear objectives, communicate its purpose, and identify how it will help both its members and the company. Development of a “sponsor” in senior management is identified as critical to gaining a budget, space, access to resources, and time for meetings.

Source: Jannette J. Witmyer, Essence; Mar, 2005

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