How to build better work relationships

  • PublishedDecember 6, 2018

Human beings are social creatures and we tend to crave for friendships and positive interactions. Therefore, having good working relationships is beneficial as it makes work more enjoyable. Research from the Gallup Foundation shows that most people who have best friends at their work spaces are more likely to be more engaged in their jobs. The research also reveals that even simple friendships like ‘lunch buddies’ can make the work space enjoyable and satisfying.

Good relationships bring with them a sense of freedom and instead of spending time and energy overcoming problems that are associated with negative relationships, it creates room for growth. If we hope to develop our careers, having a good relationship with our colleagues is a step towards the right direction. Below are few ways to building strong work relationships:


In every relationship, be it between two lovers, or just friends, trust is critical and this cannot be left out when it comes to our work relationships. When you trust your team and colleagues, you create a powerful bond that helps you to work and communicate effectively. Cultivate trust by being open and honest with your thoughts and actions.

Open communication

We are in constant communication at work whether through emails, conference calls or face-to-face meetings. Therefore, the better and more effectively you communicate with those around you, the richer your relationships will become. Understanding which communication channel is best for each of your workmates is important. For example, Mary likes communicating through face-to-face interactions, therefore, speaking to her via emails would be of great disservice to her, while Peter on the other hand prefers emails so sticking to that would be better.


Being mindful is ensuring you take responsibility for your words and actions. In a work setting, this means that when engaging in conversations with your colleagues, let not your emotions govern how you speak with them. Even if you are having a bad day, ensure that your bad experience or negative emotions doesn’t spill over to them. Also, respect their spaces and their belongings.

Embrace diversity

Diversity comes in various forms in the office environment including difference in opinions, ideologies or ways of doing things. Often times, conflict may arise within the organisation due to this diversity. Therefore, before concluding that so and so is a bad person or a bad colleague, ensure you consider what they have to say and factor in their insights into your decision making.

Developing your people skills

If you want to thrive in your relationships in the office environment, it would be essential to learn some people skills. These manifest in how you communicate, how well you collaborate with others and how you deal with your weaknesses. Good people skills include problem-solving abilities, empathy and teamwork toward a common good.

Schedule time to build your relationships

Devote a portion of your day towards relationship building. It could just be 20 minutes a day broken up throughout the course of the day into five minutes. For example, pop into someone’s office and say hello or buy your colleague coffee after work. These small interactions help build better relationships.

Appreciate others

Always appreciate those around you after they have helped you. We all love to feel we are appreciated for the work we have done no matter our rank. Being genuine with your compliments opens doors to great work relationships.

Manage your boundaries

It is important to note when our friendships are beginning to affect our work such as spending too much time past lunch hour catching up with your workmates when you should be back in the office doing your work is plain right wrong. You need to be assertive about your time and your relations so that they do not encroach on your work.

Finally, it’s important to remember that not all work relationships will be great but it is your responsibility to ensure they are workable.

Written By