Relationship Building Skills: Definitions and Examples

By Indeed Editorial Team

February 22, 2021

Relationships in the workplace can be highly beneficial to the success you achieve in your career. Building strong professional relationships can help you learn new skills and apply and further develop your current skills. Because successful relationship-building can require a combination of different soft skills, it can be essential to improve these skill areas to help you develop in your career.

In this article, you will learn what relationship-building skills are, examples of skill sets that relationship building encompasses and tips to help you improve your relationship building and tips to help you highlight these skills on your resume, in a cover letter and during an interview.

What are relationship-building skills?

Relationship building skills are a combination of soft skills that a person applies to connect with others and form positive relationships. In the workplace, relationship building skills are essential for getting along with coworkers, contributing to a team and building an understanding between yourself and others.

Examples of relationship-building skills

Relationship building skills will generally encompass a mixture of different soft skills that can all contribute to the way you interact with others. The following skill sets can typically be considered as essential skill sets to developing successful relationship building skills:

  • Interpersonal skills

  • Non-verbal communication skills

  • Verbal communication skills

  • Listening skills

  • Empathy

  • Emotional intelligence

  • Networking skills

  • Team-building skills

Read more: Interpersonal Skills: Definitions and Examples

Interpersonal skills

Relationships are people-centered. To form successful and strong work relationships, you should possess effective interpersonal skills. Being able to understand another person's perspective, showing respect when you feel it's unwarranted or showing compassion for your team can all be attributed to developing interpersonal skills.

Non-verbal communication skills

Non-verbal communication can have an impact on how you build relationships with others. For instance, learning how to read body language can help you pick up on other people's emotions.

Verbal communication skills

Verbal communication is also essential to building strong relationships. For instance, if you join a meeting with your colleagues, you can practice your verbal communication by finding opportunities to contribute ideas and ask questions. This can show that you are interested and open to hearing your team's ideas as well as motivated to contribute your thoughts, too.

Listening skills

Active listening is an essential part of communication, however, developing active listening skills can sometimes be more effective than learning how to speak in a meeting. Active listening encompasses making eye contact, being aware of non-verbal cues and asking questions that show you are invested in the conversation. This not only shows that you respect your team's ideas, it can also show that you care about all perspectives.


Empathy is another key aspect of effective relationship building skills. Having empathy for your friends and co-workers means you seek to understand their feelings and emotions. When you actively practice empathy in the workplace, you can show your teammates and managers your dedication to maintaining your work relationships.

Emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence can be beneficial to develop overall and not just in the workplace. However, being emotionally intelligent can mean that you observe the dynamics in the office and find ways to contribute to your team, help solve conflict and generally work from a place of understanding.

Networking skills

Building successful work relationships can also benefit from developing your networking skills. Meeting new people, exchanging ideas with other professionals and offering assistance to other business professionals can all help to boost your networking skills. With effective networking skills, you can increase your professional reach as well as form lasting professional relationships.

Team-building skills

Working as part of a team will almost always require effective relationship building. Develop your teamwork skills by practicing effective communication, showing respect for others' ideas and contributing and assisting where it's needed.

Related: 10 Tips to Help You Network Like a Pro

How to improve relationship-building skills

You can develop effective relationship-building skills by improving key skill sets that you may already rely on in your job. The following information provides some steps you can take to further develop your relationship-building skills:

  1. Develop effective communication skills.

  2. Practice empathy.

  3. Develop your emotional intelligence.

  4. Ask for feedback.

  5. Get involved.

1. Develop effective communication skills

One of the most essential soft skills for building successful work relationships is communication. By developing effective communication skills you can positively influence the way you interact with others. You might practice active listening, interpreting non-verbal communication like body language and you can also develop your communication skills by seeking opportunities to join conversations or contribute to team meetings.

2. Practice empathy

Another key factor in successful business relationships is empathy. When you show empathy to your peers you are showing them you care, that you understand their feelings and point of view and that you have respect for other people's ideas and emotions. Practicing empathy can help you positively impact how you get along with your teammates and other colleagues.

3. Develop your emotional intelligence

Developing emotional intelligence is another effective way to ensure you are building positive work relationships. You can develop your emotional intelligence by practicing empathy, learning to understand your teammates' feelings and by paying close attention to the dynamics in your workplace. Doing this can help increase your emotional awareness, both for your own emotions as well as your colleagues' emotions.

4. Ask for feedback

Asking for feedback can be highly beneficial to your professional development. Communicating your desire to use advice for professional improvement shows that you are motivated to succeed in your job. It also shows that you are open to new ideas, learning new skills or are willing to improve. This can positively impact your relationship skills.

5. Get involved

Another way you can further develop your relationship-building skills is to get involved with different activities in your workplace. For instance, you might join a group of colleagues for coffee during lunch or join an informal meeting to provide insight to your other teammates. You can improve your relationship-building technique by getting involved with your coworkers and contributing to various activities going on in the office.

Read more: Why is Empathy Important in the Workplace?

Relationship-building skills in the workplace

Strong work relationships can be beneficial to your job. For instance, you can build wider professional networks, find opportunities for advancement and develop your teamwork skills. You might also consider the following tips to help you apply effective relationship-building skills at work.

  • Contribute to your team as often as you can, including in new projects, team-building exercises and sharing ideas with your coworkers.

  • Deal with conflict openly and professionally with clear communication and empathy so you can solve problems quickly and efficiently.

  • Avoid gossip in the workplace by only entertaining professional and work-related conversations.

  • Practice positive emotional reactions and seek out mentoring opportunities during times you receive constructive criticism from your supervisors.

  • Find ways to assist or help your team and coworkers when you see it is needed.

Related: How to Develop Your Skill Set to Advance Your Career

How to highlight relationship-building skills

You can highlight your relationship-building skills on your resume, in your cover letter and during an interview by showcasing various skillsets like teamwork, leadership, communication and interpersonal skills.

Relationship-building skills on a resume

To highlight your relationship-building skills on your resume, you might consider matching your current skill sets to those outlined in the job requirements. For instance, if the job you are applying to requires working on a team, you might include your communication, teamwork and networking skills. Additionally, you might include examples of how these skills helped you succeed in past roles.

Relationship-building skills in a cover letter

In a cover letter, you might showcase your relationship-building skills by connecting your skill sets with how you can be an asset to the organization you are applying to. For instance, if the company you are interested in needs an effective networking expert, discuss in your letter how you helped your past company build stronger business networks.

Relationship-building skills during an interview

During an interview, you could be asked questions regarding your teamwork skills, your ability to communicate effectively or how your skill sets contributed to your last company's successes. You might answer with examples of how your skill sets helped you achieve a goal or meet an objective.

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