5 Tips for Building Relationships at Work

Updated July 21, 2022

Social support at work is one of the most important factors that contribute to satisfaction in the workplace, which can impact your general health and happiness. A close and friendly relationship with your coworkers can also help you stay dedicated to your job. As with most friendships, you can follow a few key steps to strengthen your relationships with your colleagues and encourage a better working environment for your team. In this article, we’ll review how to build and maintain great work relationships.

Why are strong work relationships important?

When you build strong relationships with your coworkers, you’re helping to encourage an open and collaborative environment for everyone on the team. This often leads to higher morale, which promotes productivity and more effective communication. Also, you may find that good relationships with your coworkers simply improves your work experience in general. Lower stress levels and greater enjoyment of your work can benefit everyone on your team.

How to build relationships at work

Follow these steps to build and develop strong relationships with your coworkers:

  1. Develop trust with your colleagues.

  2. Maintain consistent communication.

  3. Show appreciation and respect for others.

  4. Speak well of your team members.

  5. Be positive.

1. Develop trust with your colleagues

Be responsible for your work assignments and deadlines. Develop trust with and among colleagues with fair and honest commitments. Apologize if you can’t complete your obligations on time, and do your best to find a solution. These steps will help you demonstrate that you are a responsible and reliable person.

When people trust you, they will be more likely to value your experience, judgment and opinions. Hard work, honesty and a positive professional demeanor are traits that will take you a long way in your career, and they will help you make an impact in any new role. If coworkers trust one another, they’re more likely to make productive suggestions and share ideas during meetings. 

Related: Social Skills: Definition and Examples

2. Maintain consistent communication

One key factor in establishing a good relationship is communication on a daily basis, whether it is online or in person. Many interpersonal problems in the workplace can be solved with open and honest communication. To build a successful relationship, take care to show interest in your conversations and listen carefully to other people’s opinions. You can adjust and level your conversation with the person you are speaking with and watch for important nonverbal communication signs. 

Sharing about the things you do at work with your colleagues helps you build stronger bonds and relationships. Ask questions to better understand your coworker’s viewpoints, or give them a chance to express their opinions by listening carefully. To be more productive and happy in the workplace, it is crucial to learn how to diplomatically communicate and acquire some skills for successful conflict resolutions. If any conflicts happen between you and your coworker, take the time to calmly discuss the issue and come to a solution that benefits both of you. This will help you ensure a more comfortable working environment in the future.

Related: Active Listening Skills: Definition and Examples

3. Show appreciation and respect for others

Respect is a valuable foundation of any great relationship. Being mindful is something that people recognize and appreciate, and it makes a workplace better in general. Be tolerant and empathetic to everyone in a group. Create a motivating work environment by complimenting, endorsing and perceiving contributions by your colleagues. 

Everyone has a different perspective, so embracing different viewpoints on a situation at work can help you maintain a positive and open attitude. Respecting the people you work with means that you valuing their views and ideas. This will enable effective and creative working relationships that will benefit both you and your colleagues, which will encourage diverse opinions and new discussions.

Related: Teamwork Skills: Definition and Examples

4. Speak well of your team members

If you ever speak about a coworker, always try to keep your comments positive. Gossip tends to travel quickly in the workplace, but the praise you give someone else can spread just as fast. When you speak highly of others, you can help establish yourself as a positive and supportive team member. If you have an issue with one of your coworkers, it will be far more productive to speak with them alone and try to resolve the issue peacefully.

5. Be positive

A key part of building healthy relationships is to retain a positive attitude towards your coworkers. Team members tend to experience increased motivation and satisfaction in the workplace when they’re confident that they’re part of a team. This affects an employee’s desire to stay in the team and contributes towards the implementation of the work tasks. 

People who understand each other and feel comfortable with one another are more likely to have a positive attitude and maintain a good mood at work. People function better when they are in the company of relaxed and satisfied peers. Congratulate colleagues whenever they’ve accomplished a goal. Such gestures will help you show your coworkers that you value them, and it can lead to stronger relationships.

Related: The Importance of Positive Feedback and How To Deliver It to Others

Tips for building strong work relationships

Here are some additional tips to help you foster stronger relationships with your coworkers:

  • Find opportunities to listen to others. Most people will be glad to tell you about their day if you give them the chance. If you listen well and respond appropriately, you can help your coworkers quickly build their trust in you.

  • Suggest activities outside of work. You may find that bonding with colleagues outside of the workplace can help accelerate the growth of your relationship. When you learn about your team members’ interests and hobbies, you may find it easier to appreciate them as friends instead of just coworkers.

  • Maintain your commitments. If you promise a coworker that you’ll finish a project or work on a presentation, make sure to follow through on time. If you discover that you won’t be able to finish a commitment you made, however, show your colleague that you still respect them and care about their needs by giving them plenty of notice.

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