While it is not a new message, it is worth repeating- if you want to climb the corporate ladder, it is important to build strong professional relationships. Professional relationships can also benefit you when you need a reference, recommendation, or simply support and guidance. Below are some tips I have found useful in building my own professional relationships:
- Offer your help when you can. Relationships should be based on reciprocity and be mutually beneficial. Helping people strengthens your connection and creates a network of people willing to assist you in the future. From offering your expertise on a subject to providing a contact to someone, there are many ways that you can benefit others.
- Keep in touch, but in a way that adds value. While it can be nice to occasionally receive an email that says, “Just checking in. How’s it going?”, people remember those who provide them with information they can use. An email that offers something of value can turn a nice email into a memorable one.
- Be thoughtful. Sending a handwritten thank-you note when someone helps you, or offering a note of congratulations on an accomplishment demonstrates that you value a relationship. People appreciate the kind gesture and will be more inclined to do the same.
- Keep your promises. While it may sound old fashioned, keeping your promises demonstrates your character and integrity. It also helps build an environment of trust - the basic tenant of all relationships.
- Be honest. Above all things, it is important to be honest. People appreciate and respect honest feedback and insight. Honesty is a cornerstone of a strong professional relationship.
Tina is the Deputy Comptroller for Audit in the Office of Comptroller for the City of New York. Prior to that Tina was the New York State Department of Transportation’s Director of the Audit and Civil Rights Division which is responsible for the Department’s compliance and assurance functions. She also serves as the leader of the New York State Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Cabinet’s Internal Control and Fraud Prevention Working Group and is a member of the New York State’s Office of Taxpayer Accountability’s Internal Audit subgroup. Prior to joining the Department she was the Deputy Inspector General for Audit with the Office of the State Inspector General. Her career also includes significant experience with the Office of the State Comptroller as well as private industry. She is also a member of the AICPA Government Performance and Accountability Committee.