Relationship Building Mistakes to Avoid
With all this building effective business relationships, there must be some potential pitfalls as well, right? People make plenty of mistakes, so watch out for these:
Not Being Personal. Some people are all business. Worse yet, they are just vampires trying to use others to achieve their own needs. Many people don’t even know they are doing it; sometimes this behavior is just subconscious and most people would be ashamed to see it in themselves. Always remember that you are working on a mutually beneficial relationship, and be genuine. Show your interest in people’s careers, families, and your mutual interests.
Failure To Show Appreciation. Everybody wants to know that their contributions are acknowledged and appreciated. It is easy to forget to thank someone who shares a job lead or goes out of their way to help you solve a problem. Make a conscious effort to show gratitude for things that others do for you, and they’ll be more inclined to help you in the future.
Forgetting to Update. After somebody helps you get a job or solve another problem, keep them posted on how things are going. Whether they put you in touch with the hiring manager or serve as a reference, let people know how they contributed to your success. Show that you aren’t going to abandon them as soon as you get what you want.
Failing to be Consistent. In all relationships, people deserve to know that your good intentions are genuine. If you are good to someone who’s good to you, but they see you failing to treat others the same way, they will question your motives. They may think you are sucking up or being deceptive. Treating everyone you meet the same way helps you come across as sincere and genuine.
Acting Unprofessionally in Bad Times. Don’t panic or blame other people when the dam breaks. If things go bad, be upfront about it and alleviate any concerns by working hard to address the issue. Being a positive, team player in tough times reveals your true character. If things are falling apart around you and it’s not your fault, start working toward a solution rather than pointing fingers.
Failing to Admit Your Mistakes. Part of developing trust is showing that you know how to be accountable. If you mess up, fess up about it. People understand that mistakes are made, but lying about them can cause permanent damage to your relationships.
Not Being Reliable. Just like when businesses deceivingly change their policies or don’t meet obligations, you can really offend someone when you are not reliable. Don’t miss meetings, and don’t flake on promises. These mistakes can cost your relationships significantly. Your value is only as good as your word to both your colleagues and customers.
Not Being Careful What You Say. Everyone makes mistakes in conversation, but you need to avoid doing so in relationship building. A simple slip of the tongue can cost you a lot in the long run. I have seen people drink a little too much at networking events and start saying things that they would regret later. No matter where you are or who you are with, you are representing yourself, so try to be professional. In addition, if you speak poorly about people behind their backs to someone, that person will be wary that you may do the same to them.
Surrounding Yourself with Untrustworthy People. You are going to be judged by the company you keep. If your friends or business contacts have shady reputations or histories of dishonesty, then you are building that same reputation for yourself. If you refer business to someone who has a reputation for taking people’s money, then you are going to burn bridges with anyone who finds out about it. I was once referred to someone who had previously been known to run a Ponzi scheme. I had to wonder if the person who referred me was getting a kickback or something. I didn’t know her well enough to be sure, but I made sure to be very careful around her and never became close friends because she had already lost my trust.
Keeping Too Many Secrets. Be as transparent as you can, whether you are with work colleagues or with people in your personal life. If you get caught in a lie or keeping someone else’s secrets, you sacrifice trust that’s very difficult to rebuild. If you seem to have ulterior motives, you may lose others’ trust indefinitely.
Relationships take a lot of effort to build, but they can be destroyed overnight if you are not careful. Avoid making these mistakes at all costs.