The 5 Kinds of People You Need to Be Successful

When I worked with the YWCA of Knoxville, I was in charge of the annual Tribute to Women event that honored women for the accomplishments in their respected fields, along with their contributions to our community. I have had the great pleasure of interviewing more than a hundred successful women in East Tennessee. We put together a documentary about these outstanding women and serving as the interviewer was my favorite part of my job. I learned countless long-life lessons and received such great advice from so many honorable role models. The highest achieving and those individuals that I admired the most were the most humble. I was continually told that building a team is essential for success. I want to share the advice that I have received so that others can become the next generation of role models.

Creating a personal team of people that will help you build a successful future doesn’t happen serendipitously. Evaluate the following team “positions” and see where you may need to recruit some help and where your team has strengths.

  1. The Cheerleader: This person on your team will cheer for you even when you’re down 100 points to zero. For me, and for many others, this is my mom.
  2. The Motivator: This person energizes you, fills you with exciting ideas and makes you want to change the world. I am lucky to have a handful of motivators in my life.
  3. The Doubter: This team member will serve as your voice of reason. They have your best interest at heart and want to see your succeed. The role of this individual is to make sure you have thought of all outcomes when you’re making a decision. They ask the hard and uncomfortable questions.
  4. The Taskmaster: This is the person who keeps you on track. The nagging voice asking what has been done and what the next steps are, comes from this individual. I am great in serving as the role for others, just ask my husband.
  5. The Mentor: This is the person who you strive to become and the individual you wish to emulate. For many, requesting a mentor can feel like asking someone to prom. Start my just developing a relationship by asking your desired mentor to breakfast and sharing your admiration for them.

In the game of your professional career, there is no limit on how many players can be on your team. Develop enough players that advance your dreams, yet not too many that dilute the strength of each relationship. 

385 Elle Benson is the Director of Capacity Building for the Alliance for Better Nonprofits (ABN), East Tennessee’s nonprofit resource center. She oversees the educational development and consulting practices at ABN. Elle brought ten years of nonprofit and business consulting experience into assisting in the creation of ABN. Her nonprofit experience includes fundraising, nonprofit program development, nonprofit and corporate marketing, human resources, board governance, and strategic planning. She holds a certification in board governance from BoardSource, a global network advancing board governance practices. She also has a certificate in group facilitation. She earned a business degree from the Haslam College of Business, and she completed her MBA in leadership and organizational change at Tiffin University. She currently teaches nonprofit management for the University of Tennessee Non-Credit Programs. Elle enjoys being involved in the community, having served on eight nonprofit boards. She is currently serving on boards and committees for the Association of Infant Mental Health in Tennessee, Friends of Literacy, United Way of Greater Knoxville, and Young Professionals of Knoxville.