Heather Houston, Senior Account Manager

 

Of all the skills to be successful in account management, and I would argue any role, building relationships are among the most important. Your relationships affect you every single day. Inadequate relationships can result in feeling detached, trying to do it all yourself, and stunting your growth within your company.

There are a few different relationships that are built within the workplace:
• Relationships with clients or external stakeholders
• Relationships with your co-workers
• Relationships with your superiors

I’m often asked about how to build trust with clients, co-workers, bosses, etc., and when I narrow it down to a single element, it is always respect. It is a common thread woven throughout our professional experiences and can be applied to any scenario.

Here are a few ways you can show respect and build relationships:

1. Remember everyone is human and each person has their own communication style. Understand how others like to be communicated with. Some prefer a “get down to business” attitude, while others are more social. You should stick to the agenda with those who are task-oriented, but for the more personable, ask questions about their weekend, birthdays, or hobbies. When you allow others to open up, or communicate with them in their style, you break down walls and can begin to build a relationship based on honesty and openness.
2. Allow others to perform their role. It’s easy to jump in and try to take control so that projects are completed the way you feel is best. However, if you do this you’re not allowing those with the right experiences to contribute. Micromanaging could cause the project to be completed incorrectly or make others feel inferior. When projects fail or you make others feel insecure, you are less likely to be trusted with that project again or receive help from those you undermined.
3. Give credit where credit is due. Always recognize others for their contributions and include their superiors in the message. It shows that you respect their input and invites them to work with you again. When you show others appreciation, they are more likely to work harder and help on future projects. A simple “Thank you” goes a long way.
4. Stay organized. If you want others to trust you, demonstrate you are responsible and stay organized with your tasks. This shows respect because you don’t expect others to do your job for you. When others depend on you and you meet their expectations, they respect your abilities, opening doors for you to be trusted with more.
5. Always be learning. Use your resources and ask questions to those in your company with expert input. Show your interest in learning. That way, even when you don’t have all the answers, you’ll know where to find them. Be tenacious in your pursuit of knowledge, and others will appreciate that you are always trying and learning.

Respect that your clients are trying to accomplish goals; respect that your coworkers may have the knowledge you don’t have; respect that your superiors have experiences you can draw from. When you approach others with genuine respect, they start to return it, and honest relationships develop.