Why building relationships at work is important
Building positive relationships at work can improve your work life and career prospects.
Who to build relationships at work with
Getting along with people at work will make you feel happy and settled. Building and maintaining good working relationships with certain people is the next step. Some relationships need more attention and effort than others.
Identify key people at work
Key stakeholders are individuals or groups of people who can influence your success at work and may include your:
- Team mates
- Line manager/boss
- Customers or clients
- Project team mates
- HR colleagues
Make a list of who these people are at your workplace. Set aside some time each day to build and manage a strong working relationship.
How to build relationships at work
Develop your personal skills
Assess your communication, listening and confidence skills and set time aside to identify any gaps or weaknesses.
Establish your relationship needs
Identify what you need from people you work with and what you think people may need from you. This can help you anticipate what your relationships will be based on.
Schedule time to build relationships at work
Dedicate a part of each day to building relationships at work. These may be a face to face coffee, quick reply to their tweets or LinkedIn comments or simply catching up over lunch. It only needs to take a few minutes each day but this time invested will build the strong foundations you need for a long lasting relationship.
Show your appreciation and give feedback
Show your appreciation when someone supports you as everyone want to feel their efforts have been well received. Equally, giving and receiving feedback is all part of developing a relationship at work. It offers the person on the receiving end the chance to improve and do things better.
Focus on the solutions
Remaining focussed on the solutions when a challenge arises will shine a light on your positive outlook. Stick to what can be done, not what isn’t achievable and offer ways round a problem.
Manage your boundaries
It’s great to have friends at work but have clear boundaries around any work friendships. If one or two individuals are distracting you from your tasks you may not be able to focus on your job. Decide how much time you have for socialising at work and be firm with people who may take up too much of your time.
Gossip (or office politics) can make a situation worse. It can make people question your relationship and be a distraction to your role. It’s best to talk directly to someone in an open and honest way rather than second guess what’s happening.
You may find some working relationships challenging if there are colleagues or customers you don’t naturally get along or seem to disagree. Where this happens try to:
- Be professional. Always be polite and hear them out. Don’t talk badly about them to others, this is likely to reflect badly on you.
- Make an effort to get to know them and include them in conversations and meetings. Focus on what you have in common rather than your differences.
- Remember, not all relationships will be perfect but at least try to make it workable.