How to Maintain a Positive Professional Relationship

Positive Professional Relationship

In these times of rapid job transitions, do you want to know how to build new career bridges without burning the ones behind you? Do you want to leave behind a positive professional relationship while you forge new ones at your next workplace? If yes, read on.

The Age of Career Mobility and Networking

The age of lifelong job security and employment in one organization on the erstwhile Japanese private sector model or the Indian Public Sector Unit model has become a thing of the past.

People often take up new jobs in order to speed up the process of their career progression in terms of role, responsibility, span of control or designation which also translates into higher compensation.

Employers too, like to have a blend of fresh talent and experience in their staff to ensure that their organization keeps growing and improving. Though employers understand this desire to grow on the part of their employees, it still remains important not to burn one’s bridges with the previous organization when moving on.

Why Bother?

Bear in mind that companies nowadays have active alumni rehire programs or “homecoming” programs where employees and executives return for a second or third stint in the same company. In all such cases, a no objection to rehire certificate has to be signed by one’s last manager in the company.

You can also do business with your past organizations as a business partner, supplier or vendor. This positive professional relationship can only work out for you if you did not leave your former employers on a bitter note.

Here is how you can make your transition to a new company a pleasant experience for all concerned parties.

1. The World is a Small Place

The industry one works in is a small place and people get to know the terms of your exit through the grapevine which many experiments in organizational communication have shown to be more effective than official channels of communication. Do not talk ill about the previous company or its management since that is a sure way of turning people against you.

Prospective employers are often good friends with one’s previous employers. They also feel that if a person left the previous company on a bitter note, there are chances that he might do the same with them in the future. Try to give adequate notice to your current employers for them to find a suitable replacement for you when you quit.

For entry- and junior-level positions, a fortnight to a month is what it usually takes for companies to find a suitable replacement. For senior managerial positions, try to inform your company at least a couple of months in advance before you move on. They will appreciate this act of professionalism and maintain a positive image of you even when you will not be with them.

2. Be a Professional till the End

Do not slacken the pace of work or your commitment levels until your last minute in the company. Again, this shows professional conduct and it will earn you the respect and goodwill of your peers, your team, your subordinates as well as your management.

Speak to your manager as well as the designated partner in Human Resources when your new company asks for references about your work tenure as well as contributions in your last organization.

Nowadays, with 360-degree appraisal being practiced by many progressive companies, even references of internal stakeholders that you had worked closely with or delivered services and solutions for are considered appropriate references.

The Cost of an Ugly Exit

Rajiv was a bright young graduate from a premier B-School. He had worked his way up the career ladder for the first decade of his career in the corporate sector after he graduated. He was now on the threshold of a bright career in his chosen profession of Sales and Marketing.

However, a series of misunderstandings with his seniors in a Fortune 100 company led to a number of ugly spats and Rajiv vented his ire to all and sundry when he quit without a reasonable alternative in hand.

His mode of exit was highlighted by his previous organization in all cases of reference checks that his prospective employers conducted before hiring him. Not exiting his earlier company on a graceful and polite note resulted in a setback to Rajiv’s overall career graph.

Conclusion – Positive Professional Relationships

Effective Networking and Positive Reference Checks play a very important role in determining a professional’s career success. Bear the above-mentioned small tips in mind since it is these small things that can make all the difference when it comes to earning people’s respect and goodwill.

Your positive professional relationship should be defined by mutual respect, integrity and value addition and these values need to be reflected through your actions and behaviors in your workplace, whether old or new.

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About the Author

Supradeep Mukherjee is an author, trainer and broadcaster. Educated at Hindu College and the Delhi School of Economics, he has consulted with a number of corporate organisations, radio stations and academic institutions. His areas of interest include Personal Development, Parenting, Relationships and Lessons in Living from Mythology.

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