How to Build Stronger Relationships at Work

The relationship-building skills in this article will help you foster trust, respect, and collaboration with your colleagues.

Picture this: you’re at work, and you need to ask your colleague a question about the project you’re both working on. But when you go to talk to them, they seem busy. They don’t even make eye contact with you. You start to feel like maybe they don’t want to be bothered, so you end up not asking the question.

Sound familiar? If it does, don’t worry – you’re not alone. Many people find themselves in relationships at work that aren’t quite as strong as they’d like them to be. But fortunately, there are some things you can do to change that.

Read on to learn how to build stronger relationships at work.

Building Positive Relationships In The Workplace

Interpersonal relationships are complex constructs that can make or break a work environment. It is essential to cultivate relationships that are more positive and productive in the workplace so that everyone feels comfortable, respected, and appreciated. By doing so, the workplace flourishes with people feeling supported, motivated, and inspired to do their best work.

For improved job satisfaction and happiness at work, take the time to strengthen your work relationships. Here are some tips for successful relationship-building at work:

1. Hone Your Communication Skills

Effective communication is one of the most, if not the most, important skills you need to develop if you want to build stronger relationships at work.

Verbal Communication

Verbal communication encompasses what you say and how you say it. It’s important to think before you speak and be conscious of how you phrase your words.

Consider your tone of voice – how do you speak with others? Aim to speak with empathy, positivity, and understanding. When you speak in a considerate and respectful way, the people you are talking with will be more open to what you have to say.

Nonverbal Communication

Your body language says a lot about you and your feelings. If you are relaxed, it implies that you are comfortable with the person and the situation. On the other hand, if you are tense or closed off, it sends the message that you are uninterested and disconnected.

Try to stay open and aware of your body language. Make sure to maintain eye contact to show that you’re present and listening. Don’t let your body language contradict what you are saying.

Active Listening

When the other person is speaking, pay close attention to what they’re saying rather than thinking about what you are going to say next. Show that you are actively listening by nodding and making small comments to indicate that you understand. Ask follow-up questions and paraphrase what they said – this will demonstrate that you are engaged in the conversation and that you care about what they have to say.

Emotional Intelligence

Be mindful of not only how you communicate but also how you’re making your colleagues feel. Make sure to use appropriate language and be respectful of their feelings, even in disagreements. Be empathetic and strive to see things from their perspective. This will allow you to connect with them deeper and help you better collaborate with them.

2. Set And Meet Expectations

Set expectations that are clearly defined and reasonably achievable. Be realistic with deadlines, and don’t overextend yourself or your team members. Ensure everyone is aware of the expectations and deadlines, so they can adequately prepare.

Discuss potential outcomes and consequences before starting any project or task. This way, everyone involved has a better understanding of what needs to be done and how it needs to be done. This will help prevent misunderstandings down the line.

Once expectations are set, work hard to meet those expectations to prove that you are a team player. When you meet deadlines, you demonstrate accountability and dependability. You show that you can be trusted.

3. Build Trust

Strong professional relationships are built on trust and respect. To gain trust, you need to be reliable and trustworthy. Show that you can be relied upon by following through on your commitments and keeping your promises.

Be honest and upfront with others, even if it’s uncomfortable. Transparency helps to foster trust. When people trust you, they’ll feel more comfortable being open and honest with you. This leads to better communication which will further strengthen your workplace relationships.

Trust is only possible when all parties involved feel respected and valued. Respect your colleagues’ ideas, opinions, and feelings by actively listening to them and giving them the attention they deserve.

4. Express Gratitude

Find small ways to express gratitude regularly. Even a simple “thank you,” or heartfelt compliment can make a big difference.

Showing appreciation for someone’s efforts or ideas shows that you value them and their work. When you express gratitude, you send the message that you care about them, which will encourage them to reciprocate and build a stronger relationship with you.

5. Take An Interest

Take the time to get to know your colleagues. Get to know their personal interests, hobbies, and passions outside of work. Ask them about these things often and take a genuine interest in them. You will develop more meaningful relationships when you learn and listen to them talk about the things that are important to them.

Showing an interest in your colleagues not only helps build relationships but it also encourages collaboration and creativity. People who feel heard and respected are more likely to open up and share their ideas.

Final Thoughts

Building relationships can take substantial time and effort but is worth the investment. The relationship-building skills outlined above will help you develop strong relationships with your colleagues and foster trust, respect, and collaboration that benefits everyone involved. Good luck!

A Little Dose of Happy
a little dose of happy (aldohappy, "all do happy") is a mission, mindset, and movement dedicated to spreading happiness throughout the world. It was created by two Seattle-based physicians who believe that happiness can be cultivated through little doses of happy and by actively doing happy. Our blog provides tips on how to infuse happiness into everyday life and our Do Happy app helps individuals stay accountable to their happiness goals. We hope you'll join us on our mission to make the world a happier, kinder place!