As with all relationships, working relationships can come under strain and fail to thrive if you don’t give them the work and attention they deserve. To help you nurture warm, fruitful connections with your associates and clients, avoid these five habits that can kill your professional relationships:
1. Failing To Deliver
Failing to deliver something you promised is one surefire way to destroy trust with a colleague or client. Maybe you haven’t sent those corporate gifts that were due to go out last week. Perhaps the order you promised to put through yesterday hasn’t been processed yet.
Whatever it happens to be, the fact that you aren’t delivering it on time (or at all) is not only harmful to your business, but it’s also depleting the trust your coworkers and customers have in you.
Are you always doing the bare minimum at work? Are you happy to let your colleagues’ workloads pile up while you take on the smallest amount possible? Are you always late for work and generally unreliable?
If your boss hasn’t already taken issue with your behavior, your coworkers certainly will. They get the same pay as you, but they put in all the effort. If this sounds uncomfortably familiar, it’s no surprise your professional relationships are strained.
A recent study showed that on average, American workers spend about 40 minutes of the week gossiping. While this questionable activity can be difficult to resist when all your colleagues are getting involved, it is also one of the easiest ways to kill your working relationships.
Taking part in gossip can be harmful to the person at the center of it, hurting their feelings and potentially even causing them problems at work or home. Getting involved in gossip can also get you in trouble if it goes too far.
Gossip rarely causes anything but harm. However, it persists in many workplaces due to boredom and the desire to avoid being the person focused on by others. Avoid it at all costs to keep your working relationships safe.
4. Stealing Credit
Stealing credit for another person’s work is an easy way to ruin your relationship with that person. It has always happened in offices, but more recently it is ramping up in the new era of online work. When sharing a virtual office rather than a physical one, colleagues don’t see each other in person, making it easier for some to feel comfortable taking credit they don’t deserve.
When somebody has worked hard to produce a positive result or idea and you steal it, you do yourself no favors. Your colleague will hate you, anybody who knows what you did will think less of you, and if found out, you could end up being disciplined. At the very least, it’s just bad form. You can do your job well, so why steal somebody else’s contributions?
5. Being Unprofessional
Being unprofessional could mean over-sharing, commenting on what someone looks like, or being rude. All of those things can cause a working relationship to become strained and may cause you to be reported to HR. If you cross working relationship lines further, you could even be accused of breaking the law.
The best thing to do is to maintain professionalism at all times. It is possible to do this while also being friendly and personable. Yes, it can be a fine line at times, but the fact that you’re aware and want to do the right thing is a good sign.
Your career can only ever benefit from good professional connections. By avoiding the issues above, your working relationships will have the best chance of thriving long-term.