From the Publisher
“A workplace without friends is an enemy.”
The Washington Post
“Friendships are good for business. Companies are coming to discover that, yet are at a loss at what to do about it. ... what Gallup has uncovered about best friends stands out as novel.”
“Let friendship ring. It might look like idle chatter, but when employees find friends at work, they feel connected to their jobs. Having a best friend at work is a strong predictor for being a happy and productive employee.”
A workplace without friends is an enemy.
Friendships are good for business. Companies are coming to discover that, yet are at a loss at what to do about it. . . . what Gallup has uncovered about best friends stands out as novel.
Let friendship ring. It might look like idle chatter, but when employees find friends at work, they feel connected to their jobs. Having a best friend at work is a strong predictor for being a happy and productive employee.
Friendship may be coming into vogue as a topic (to wit, Joseph Epstein's new book Friendship: An Expose), but Rath (coauthor of the bestselling How Full Is Your Bucket?) takes a pragmatic rather than philosophical approach. He explores the inherent value of friendships and says that the need for friends goes beyond commonality or companionship; in particular, he devotes a section to friendship at work, which, unlike many companies and managers, Rath sees as a positive force. Rath's research shows that employees who have a best friend in the office are more productive, more likely to engage positively with customers, share new ideas and stay longer in a job. Citing illuminating cases and surveys (many conducted for the Gallup Organization), Rath shows that many people succeed or fail based on the support and involvement of their best friends. Rath posits eight vital roles friends play: some are champions for each other; some collaborate; some connect people with others; and some build each other up through encouragement and trust. Rath's bullishness on friendship is based on solid research and couched in intelligent prose. 150,000 first printing. (Aug. 1) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Rath is the coauthor of How Full Is Your Bucket?, which studied the use of positive psychology in everyday life. Here he continues his discussion of the importance of encouraging friendship, particularly at work. Rath argues that friendships in the workplace are vitally important to success. He presents examples and data from a Gallup study he conducted that examined categories of various work relationships and how these affected employee success. The book's extensive appendixes review the background of the survey and include other notes. A companion web site, www.vitalfriends.com, allows readers to assess their own relationships. While the information presented here is interesting, it doesn't break new ground and tends only to emphasize the positive aspects of work friendships. Given Rath's previous work, however, this book will likely be of interest to larger public libraries. Joel W. Tscherne, formerly with Cleveland P.L. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Read an Excerpt
What Roles do Your Friends Play?
The studies that VITAL FRIENDS is based on show that people have significantly
better friendships if they can easily describe what each friend contributes to the
relationship. To make that possible, Gallup built an assessment to help you determine the
roles friends play and to give both participants the language to talk about those roles and
how to make them better. Each book and galley has a unique code that allows readers to
take the assessment that identifies what role a friend plays in your life.
Here's a look at the top eight roles that research uncovered:
Builders are friends who motivate you, invest in your development, and truly
want you to succeed -- even if it means they'll go out on a limb for you. These
friends help you see your strengths and advise you on how best to use them. They
are generous with their time and encourage you to accomplish more. They'll
never compete with you and will always be standing at the finish line to cheer you
Champions stand up for you and your beliefs and they praise you to everyone else
they know. They are the friends who "have your back" and will advocate for you
when you're not around to defend yourself. Champions are your strongest
supporters who thrive on your accomplishments and happiness.
Collaborators are friends with similar interests, those who share your passion for
sports, hobbies, religion, work, politics, food, movies, music, or books. Shared
interests are what often make Collaborators lifelong friends and those with whom
you are most likely to spend your time.
Companions are always there for you, whatever the circumstances. You share a
bound that is virtually unbreakable and when something big happens in your life,
good or bad, this is the person you call first. These friends are always giving you
meaningful gifts and they will sacrifice for your benefit.
Connectors are the bridge builders who help you get what you want. These
friends get to know you and then instantly work to connect you with others who
will share your interests or goals. They extend your network dramatically and
give you access to new resources. If you need a job, a doctor, a friend, or a date,
call a Connector.
Energizers are fun friends who are always there to boost your spirits and create
more positive moments in your life. They pick you up when you're down and can
turn a good day into an even better one. Energizers are those to call on when you
need a laugh, a smile, or a bit of relaxation in your day.
- MIND OPENER
Mind Openers are the friends who stretch your viewpoint, introduce you to new
ideas, opportunities, cultures, and people. They help you to expand your vision
and create positive change in your life. These are the friends who challenge
conventional wisdom and come up with creative solutions to whatever problems
or obstacles you face. They are stimulating and motivating and allow you to
express opinions that you might be uncomfortable articulating to others.
Navigators are friends who give advice and direction. You seek them out
when you need guidance and counsel -- they're great at talking through
your options. Navigators are best at hearing your dreams and goals and then
helping you find the path to achieve them.
Having the right expectation of your friends is everything, writes Tom Rath in VITAL
FRIENDS. If your expectations of a friend are in line with what they contribute to your
friendship, the relationship is poised to thrive and make both of you better off in the
Adapted from VITAL FRIENDS: The People You Can't Afford to Live Without, by Tom Rath,
publication August, 2006, The Gallup Press.