Relationships in business can be hard, especially when they’re ones you can’t remove yourself from easily – like when you’re working alongside a tricky client.
However, there are ways to combat the strain. With a few simple tweaks, you can learn how to put your personal grievances to the side, and nurture a healthy working relationship instead. Want to find out more? Keep reading and we’ll show you how!
1. Remember that you are at work
This may be the simplest piece of advice, but it’s an important one to start on. You are at work, and you are doing a job – and sometimes, the job may involve aspects that you don’t totally like. Perhaps it’s the morning meetings, or being on photocopying duty – or being the go-to for a particularly challenging client.
Start to distance your personal feelings away from the situation, and treat it as plainly as possible. Remember that you are serving a purpose, and fulfilling a work commitment – you’re not seeing this person in your free-time, where the choice is entirely your own. Try to put your own personal feelings to the side, and channel your focus onto the job in hand instead.
2. Examine the situation, and suggest a new way of working
Does the problem run deeper than your client being slightly off-hand to you over the phone? Are there bigger problems at play that need to be addressed that are causing you to be over-worked and stressed? If so, action them. Maintaining strong business relationships doesn’t come easily, and if problems do arise, it’s up to you to fix them – only you know how much a situation is affecting you.
Schedule a time to discuss a change in process with your client, but make sure that the change is mutually beneficial. For instance, allotting a set day for your client to send you new job briefs can lead to better productivity during the week, and a higher quality of deliverables. As well as the client benefit, it will offer considerably less strain for you and your workforce. Spin the changes as a win-win situation to keep both parties happy at all times.
3. Write everything down
Make sure that you keep a written or digital log of conversations between you and your client. As Business Bee points out, then “if the client says there is a problem with the way your services were performed, you have these details to show you took the right course of action.”
It’s important to ensure you’re covered when working with external clients, and to not over-promise on deliverables. If there’s a written log to back up (or dispute) claims, this will help to add security. This way, if a client is pushing for more work than has been originally agreed, you have a document in which you can prove this isn’t true. It’s all too easy to bend over backwards for a client, but it’s important to maintain a sense of control when discussing projects, and to manage expectations correctly.
4. Take a breather
The Muse share a poignant statement on this topic: “no one needs to be a hero every hour of the day.” It’s easy to get caught up in client’s demands and deadlines, and lose yourself in worry and stress. You are entitled to step away from a situation for a while, and re-evaluate. Not everything has to be completed straight away – you are a human, not a robot!
It’s good to remember that the whole business does not rest on your shoulders – you have a team around you to support you, and your work. So, use them! Involve them in your stresses and work out a plan of action. If you do this, you will feel closer to your colleagues, as well as feeling happier in the workplace, which is absolutely paramount.
About the author: Lucy Farrington-Smith is a careers advice writer for Inspiring Interns, a graduate recruitment agency which specialises in finding candidates their dream internship.