What Is a Professional Relationship?

By Staff WriterLast Updated Apr 7, 2020 4:02:42 PM ET
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A professional relationship is an ongoing interaction between two people that observes a set of established boundaries or limits that is deemed appropriate under governing ethical standards. Establishing proper professional relationships is the backbone of career development.

The nature of a person's relationships with colleagues and those under direct care, management or supervision can determine success in a chosen professional. A professional relationship is typically characterized by collegiality that doesn't cross over into over-familiarity or inappropriate closeness. Most professions have standards that govern interpersonal relationships to prevent improprieties ranging from coercion to harassment. Failing to maintain the proper level of professionalism in a business relationship can lead to loss of employment and legal problems according to Lawrence University.