Episode 64: Build Solid Professional Relationships


June 15th, 2021

25 mins 6 secs

Your Hosts

About this Episode

Today’s episode is about building and deepening professional relationships at work, and small changes that can have a big impact on your work relationships, personal brand, and people’s experience working with you.

Tip #1. No ghosting. We discuss the person, who we never know if they are going to show up to our meetings, and therefore we wonder how much they respect our time. The key here is to look at your calendar regularly to avoid double bookings and no-shows, and to let someone know AHEAD OF TIME (vs after the fact) when you won’t make the meeting. Giving someone time back = good. Leaving them staring at a blank screen = not good.

Sending the “are you going to make this meeting?” email stinks. That said, we know no-shows happen, and we apologize and move on. That said, “Sorry I missed our meeting, I was in the car.” is BS -- you KNEW you were getting in the car, and you KNEW you had a meeting... you know better, and we’re encouraging yourself to do better.

**Tip #2. Be on time. **Liz worked with SignalFx for years, and a core value of the company was to respect people’s time, so meetings started on time, and calls happened on time. If someone was going to be late, they would send an email, text, or Slack. Nobody was ever left waiting and it was GLORIOUS.

**Tip #3. Keep people posted on your progress. **When you’re assigned a project, the people you work with are going to assume you’re going to meet your deadline. Send an update half way through, let your colleagues know if you forsee any delays, and help people know they can rely on you to update them and meet your deliverables. Yes, it may be uncomfortable to send an update, especially if you’re going to miss a deliverable, but setting expectations is key to building trust at work.

Tip #4. Be kind. Thank the IT person who fixes your computer. Say hi when you see someone in the kitchen. Don’t leave a mess for the janitor. Being kind makes you pleasant to work with. If people like working with you, they’re going to give you opportunities. How you behave has a ripple effect in your career. Savvy interviewers are looking for how people treat others around them- it’s important to be kind.

Tip #5. Don’t overshare. Giving the gory details of your latest virus or of your breakup is completely unnecessary. Big picture, “I’m sick and can’t come to work” - yes. Every detail of fever, headache, vomit, and malaise - no.

Tip #6. Follow Up. Don’t ghost. If someone takes the time to talk with you, reaches out with an idea, and especially if you say something like “I want to work with you” or “I’m going to follow up by this date.” Yes, it may feel uncomfortable to tell someone that you’ve changed your mind, but it’s about respecting someone’s time enough to follow up when you say you will.

Kat and Liz agree that they both will bend over backwards for people who show them respect, whereas they put less time and effort into people who don’t show appreciation for our efforts. If you’re respectful to the people who you are working with, they’ll be respectful to you, and you will build more robust professional relationships.