Building positive workplace relationships is vital for career success. Relationships can positively or negatively affect your satisfaction with the job, your ability to advance and gain recognition for your achievements. When you build positive relationships, you feel more comfortable with your interactions and less intimidated by others. You feel a closer bond to the people you spend the majority of your time working with.
However, for a lot of people, relationship building isn’t natural or easy to do. Most refuse to admit this is a concern because it is such a basic, common sense concept. They assume they already know how to do it. Don’t fall into that trap. Everyone – even the most outgoing, engaging personalities – can improve their skills in this critical area. The ten tips listed below are for anyone who wants to build positive workplace relationships.
Apply these tips to interactions with your boss, team members, project managers, senior management, vendors, clients, customers, direct reports and administrators.
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- Share more of yourself at meetings. One of the best ways to build relationships is to let others know who you are. This can come by sharing your expertise, knowledge and personality at meetings. Other people will either get to know you, like you or want to hear more from you. They will find you more approachable and thus the chance of building relationships begins to occur. If you are fearful to share at meetings, think ahead of time what you want to say so that you are more prepared.
- Speak positively about the people you work with, especially to your boss. Get in the habit of speaking positively to others and providing quality feedback about the people who work with. Many times the information that gets shared (whether positive or negative) comes back to the person who is being discussed. People will enjoy hearing that you have said supportive things about them and will know that you are on their side. That will build trust. Be careful of the workplace gossip that is so prevalent and don’t contribute to it.
- Improve your interpersonal skills by supporting other people’s work. Having a team attitude gives you a big competitive advantage. Ask how you can get involved with others. This will form a closer connection because you are working directly with someone else to help them meet their goals. They will appreciate your support and get to know you better which is vital to creating a more connected working relationship.
- Ask others to become involved in your projects or activities. Don’t be afraid to ask others for help and bring them onto your projects. The more they can participate in the activities you are working on, the better you get to know each other. You’ll enjoy working with others in getting more things done.
- Write thank you notes. Write notes of appreciation to the people who are doing exemplary work, making positive contributions and going above the call of duty. These notes can be hard-written, sent via email or done by voice mail. Send them to people above you, below you or at the peer level. Colleagues like to be appreciated and will feel closer to you by having been noticed and thanked for their contributions.
- Initiate conversations by asking questions. When we first meet someone it can be a bit intimating. We often don’t know what to say or how to say it. Asking questions is a great way for you to listen and let the other person share. They will feel closer to you when they have shared about themselves and you demonstrate you’re interested in what they have to say. Then share something about yourself so the relationship becomes a two-way interaction that can help establish a bond.
- Initiate repeated interactions and communications. An important part to building relationships is to continue interacting with the person you have gotten to know. As you get to know each other better, personally and professionally, you establish a closer connection that can greatly impact your satisfaction.
- Participate in activities with others that don’t involve work. As you get to know someone, you might find similar interests that may warrant an outside the work activity. This can greatly impact relationships because you are beginning the process toward friendship. Go out to lunch together during the work day or do things in the evenings or weekends. If you are married, you can visit with other couples to establish more connection at work.
- Share information. The information you share can be directly related to their work or it can be about a subject you know they will enjoy reading. You are thinking of them and helping them with the right information or content.
- Introduce yourself at social work events. Social events like lunches/dinners with colleagues, retreats, conferences and holiday parties are good places to interact in an informal setting. If you can reach out and introduce yourself to some of the people who you work with or who you want to know better, you’ll find they are more inclined to let down their guard. It will be easier for you to get to know them and for you to share about who you are.
Building positive relationships often provides increased resources to help you get your job done and to be more efficient. You’ll enjoy greater satisfaction at work… and so will those around you.