how to build relationships at work

How to Build Relationships at Work: 25 Proven Steps

Whether you are recovering from a broken relationship or have never had a real friendship with anyone, learning how to build relationships at work is a skill you cannot do without. It has been estimated that at least, 80% of adults are either in a job or seeking to get one.

Relationships matter anywhere, whether at school, with your neighbors, in the street, or at your workplace. That is a general rule of nature. Some folks claim that they can cope without relating to others. Well, the truth is, they are actually in self-denial and are missing out on a lot of things. Everyone has a psychological need for a relationship. When we desire relationships, we are simply acting based on how we were wired as humans.

Knowing how to build relationship at work is not like building friendships in a bar; although they are quite related. Working with others in the workplace is for teamwork, personal success, enjoying your job, increasing your productivity among many other vital reasons. And for these reasons, you might have to overlook some factors you would naturally want to consider before relating to anyone.

It’s possible to have your co-workers as close friends at your workplace, no doubt, but you also need to know how to build relationships with all your colleagues; including those that are not in your department.

The same way we don’t get to choose our family members is the same way we cannot choose who we work with, except in the case where you are the manager; which isn’t always the case. Whoever is your colleague was chosen by your organization and they automatically become people you can’t do without or avoid, to a large extent. You just have to find a way to relate well and know how to build relationships at work with them. And that’s what this post is about, helping you know how to build relationships at work and understanding the importance of positive relationships.

Importance of Relationships in the Workplace

Importance of building relationship at work

You can decide who your friends will be at your workplace, but for the most part, you need to learn how to build relationships at work with almost all your colleagues, co-workers, and especially some people in key positions in your organization. You can’t be too picky because they are more or less like your family members. How do I mean?

Remember I mentioned that relationship with your friends in your social circle is quite different from the relationship with your co-workers in the workplace. Just like you cannot function as an island without a social circle, you also can not function optimally on your job without learning how to build relationship at work.

The value you place on building relationships in business or at work depends on how important you see it.  Why do you need to develop strong relationships in your workplace? Why is it necessary to relate well with your colleagues? The following points will show you why you can’t just go to work, do your job as a lone ranger and get out at the closing time?

Who doesn’t want a stress free day at work? You need all the help you can get from people you work with. You’ll find your job easier to do because a good relationship with your colleagues will give room for better efficiency and more creativity.

Besides this, you are more likely to be psychologically and mentally energized to be efficient and productive.

  • Stand In the Gap for You

If you have one or two co-workers you are in good relationship with, they can easily and willingly stand-in for you while you are away for some important event or sick.

  • Enjoying Your Job

Knowing how to build relationships at work is the first step to having a swell time with your job. Whether it is a new job or not, you will be more effective as you flow with other colleagues easily and can work as a team with them. You’re more likely to wake up every day, eager to go to work because you enjoy the environment of your workplace as a result of a good relationship.

  • Preference

One of the major qualities of a good manager is the ability to flow with others and harness their talents.

There is a good chance that you will be more preferred and qualified for promotion to a higher position than your co-workers who doesn’t know how to build relationships at work.

Also, workers who understand how to invest in relationships at work will be likely preferred to go represent the organization when the opportunity comes.

Building Relationships with New Co-workers

building relationship with co-workers

You may be a new employee in an organization who wants to know what it takes in building relationships with other new co-workers. If you are, congratulations on your new job.

Or perhaps, you are already a long time worker in an organization who desires to know how to build a good working relationship with new co-workers. Either way, the following points will help you on how to build relationships at work.

  • Be Determined

The first thing you need to do is to set up working relationship goals that promote teamwork and corporate success. The determination to have a good relationship with your colleague will help you make every effort to achieve it.

  • Get Familiar With Them

Create Time to Know Them. Any good relationship thrives on communication. Be deliberate about it. If you are new at your job, get familiar with your co-workers. And if you are already a worker, get to know your new co-worker, it will help to ease any nervousness. And who knows? You could be awesome friends as you get familiar with each other.

No matter how busy you are, spending a few minutes of your time saying hello and asking how they are doing won’t take anything from you. Except it’s prohibited during office hours for workers in your company, in which case, you can do that when you close, there is absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t create time for getting to know your co-workers.

The more you relate with them, the more you understand each other and inadvertently, be able to work together as a team.

  • Give A Helping Hand

New co-workers, no matter how professional and experienced they are, need help to settle into their new job environment. The first few days of getting a new job might be stressful than the other days. Develop a friendship with them by rendering to be of help where and when necessary.

How to Build Relationship with Employee

building relationship with employee

Your employees, each of them, are your most valued assets in your organization. Apart from being a representation of your company, they are also your human machinery. Without them, your business will be limited to what only you can do. How you treat each of them matters a whole lot. I hope you realize this as much as great managers do.

Your employees are your feet and hands. They are the extension of your professionalism and strength. Catch some clues from these next points to know how to build relationship with your employees.

  • Be approachable.

If this isn’t the key point, it should be second to the points I will later make. Managers, HRs, head of teams need to understand this crucial point, that the less approachable they are, the less likely it is for employees to put in their best. That’s a sure thing because not being approachable will put a lot of pressure on your employees.

Being approachable will help them ask relevant questions that if not asked, could cause a terrible mistake. I once worked in an organization where the manager made it difficult to approach her. We were always terrified of her presence. We felt she would be harsh and cold towards us because her stances said so.

One day, one of my colleagues took up the courage to ask her about a difficult task. Instead of pushing her away as we all expected, the manager answered in detail the question she asked and we were all like really? She could do that?

I mentioned that to say this, you may unconsciously not know that your stances or words sometimes make you unapproachable as the head of a team. You need to learn how to smile and be friendly with your employees. Be intentional about this and your job/ business will be better for it.

  • Build on Your People skills

How to build relationships at work doesn’t just happen by chance.

The most successful people in an organization are those who know how to get along with others. They have been known to have people skills and understand the importance of teamwork.

Theodore Roosevelt, the 46th president of the United States said the most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people.

  • Don’t Judge By Appearances

You certainly may not like the appearances of your co-workers and that means many things. Working together as a team has nothing to do with color, race, or stature. As long as they can do their job effectively, that’s all that matters.

  • Keep Employees Secrets and Qualifications Confidential

Another way to say that is “Keep secret as a secret”.

It would be a stain on your shirt if you divulge your employee’s secrets, qualifications, or personal information to their colleagues’ even if it is something they would be proud of. This could paint you as someone who gossips.

  • Give Them Freedom

Always hovering around them and watching every step they take as they do their job will not make them give their best in your organization. Have you ever heard of workplace autonomy? Autonomy in the workplace means giving employees the chance to express themselves, work at their own pace, and bring results based on their capacity.

Workplace autonomy will make them think for themselves and depend less on you as a manager. It will also make them have or develop leadership skills that may not be able to achieve if you are always hovering around. This doesn’t mean you are never there to guide and show them how things are done. It just means that you don’t continue to do the job you hired them for.

  • Be Slow to Anger

Always flaring up at every mistake made by employees will definitely be to the detriment of the reputation and image of the company because the strength of every organization is in its ability to be creative. We are humans and we all make mistakes. Your employees will make some too. What do you do when they make mistakes? Or a costly one for that matter?

I have mentioned how to deal with employees when there is conflict. The same goes for when they make mistakes. Instead of shouting in anger at them, kindly call them privately and correct them. They will appreciate you for it. Even if the mistake will warrant their leaving your company, shouting in anger at them in the presence of other co-workers will send a negative message to others.

  • Resolve Conflicts Tactically and on Time

When you have issues with your colleagues or employee, because that is a large possibility, confront and make peace with them directly, without having to involve anyone. It’s not uncommon for conflicts to arise between employees or between you and an employee. Unresolved conflicts will affect workers’ productivity to a very large extent. Before you involve a third party, have a talk with them first. It might have just been a misunderstanding.

  • Praise Them When They Do Well

Everyone loves to be praised for a job well done. Workers’ morale is greatly motivated when they get praised by their employers. I think that goes without saying. During your general office meetings, those who have helped to increase the company’s profit and productivity should be recognized and praised.

You could move it a little further by sending a personal memo to them. Adding a little bonus will not be a bad idea too. Let them know that the time and efforts they give in to their jobs are not wasted and are greatly appreciated.

  • Respect is Very Important

Respecting your employees means not yelling at them or ordering them around simply because you are the boss. It doesn’t mean they would see you less than you are to them. Respecting your employees means you value their input and person as an employee.

  • Be Firm But Not Too Rigid

It’s totally good to be jovial and caring towards your employees as I have mentioned earlier, but here is the balance. As much as you want them to relax around you, always let them remember what they are in the organization to do. Be firm about your expectations from them. Take no flimsy excuses for irresponsibility. Be professional.

  • Encourage Social Connections Among Employees

The more employees feel connected and valued by each other, the more likely they are to work well together as a team.

Employers need to create avenues and activities for bonding among co-workers. It creates team spirit and fosters a healthy positive relationship between them.

Some companies do this by having a tea lunch break to reduce stress at work. Games and challenges could be a great idea on a public holiday or Saturday. There are a lot of interesting games for team building that you can research on. This will help improve the relationship between employees, across departments.

  • Communication is Vital

This will help them to know what you expect of them. Lack of communication can even cause misunderstanding. Your employees need to understand your vision, mission and strategies of achievement.

Do not assume they know. Even though they know, re-iterate it often. Saying it to the hearing regularly will help them to integrate it into their daily plans and activities, which is needed for an active team spirit.

Building Relationships with Customers

building relationship with customers

Good relationships are the real spice of life. Building relationships with customers is of the utmost importance to the sustenance and progress of the business.

Someone said it costs more to get a new customer than to retain an existing one. You, therefore, need to learn the arts of building a working relationship with your customers and prospective clients.

Your customers are the life of your business. A wrong word said to a customer could cost you some profit and hinder another prospective client from doing business with you. It is therefore paramount to understand that in business, building relationships is a key factor. Here are things to do to keep your customers and gain new ones.

  • Ask them about their expectations

One of the ways to let your customers know that you want the best for them is to frequently ask them about their expectations and how you can serve them better.

  • Don’t disappoint them

You’ll maintain a good relationship with your customer and win their hearts if you meet their expectations and exceed them. If you make a promise, fulfill it. If you fix an appointment meet up with it. If you’ll have to come late, call ahead to inform him/her.

Never disappoint your client/customer. Doing so can tarnish your reputation and negatively impact your relationship with them.

  • Let them trust you

Building relationships with customers requires trust. And trust will always require you to say the truth. Read that again. Just one lie can tarnish your reputation as a company. At that moment, it doesn’t matter how much you have been truthful.

Transparency is mostly lacking in today’s business world. Transparency in business means you are open and not deceptive about what you do or sell. If there are hidden charges, make it known. If there are terms and conditions, explain it in clear terms without ambiguity. However, you have to be tactical and professional so you don’t lose your client before gaining it.

  • Don’t always be on the defensive side

Sometimes you need to agree with your customer’s opinion and try to see from their own perspective when you have contrary views. If they have a feeling that you respect their opinion and you agree with them, instead of seeing you as a difficult salesman, they would be more endeared to you and be willing to also agree with you. This works, almost all the time.

Even if you’ll still have to disagree with them, give them the privilege to feel they are right. Afterward, tactically and diplomatically, you can prove your points.

  • Communicate politely with them

Communicating politely with your customers will endear their hearts towards you. When you are stressed out, take some moment to catch some breath so you can be polite in your conversation with your customer. It is very unprofessional to talk to your customer with outbursts of negative emotions.

Always remember that you’re in business whenever you’re with a client or a would-be client.

  • Value Them

Everyone wants to be valued in a relationship. Customers are not exempted from this rule. When they recognize that they are valued, they will return the favor. Treat your customers like you would treat a king even if they are buying the cheapest product in your shop. The saying, “Every customer is a king”, is true and you should always put this at heart.

  • Praise / Compliment Them

Sharon just cut her hair short at a salon and decided to buy a pack of sausage and toiletries at a frequently patronized mall. The attendant who packed her things told her, “You are looking a lot better. Could it be your hair?” That compliment made her day like she later told me.

Noticing little details about your customers and saying something good about them can go a long way to helping you be a pro at how to build relationships at work.

  • Give Them Attention

No matter how little, everyone wants attention. Or do you know anyone who likes to be ignored? I’ve not met anyone like that. Give your client/ customer attention, and let them know you’re paying pretty much attention to them and their needs.

Whatever you can do to master the art of building relationships at work and especially with customers is worth every dime.

  • Ask for feedback

When you ask for feedback, your customers feel important and assume you care. This would mean a lot to your business and to the relationship with that customer.

  • Communicate with them about your products.

Let them know if the chance of a product becoming more expensive is possible; or if a particular product will soon become scarce or in short supply. The rule here too is to be professional.

Good Working Relationship Quotes

“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success”. – Henry Ford


“The healthiest relationships are those where you are a team; where you protect each other, and stand up for one another”.  – Sharon Rivkin


“A ‘just a job’ employee does just enough to keep their job while complaining about what’s not fair or right, at work. A ‘team player’ works positively together with everyone to get the job done the best way possible”. – Ty Howard


“Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes teamwork, a company work, a society work, a civilization work”. – Vince Lombardi


“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championship”. – Micheal Jordan


“Great things in business are never done by one person”. – Steve Jobs


“Teams share the burden and divide the grief” – Doug Smith


“The nice thing about teamwork is that you always have others on your side”. – Margaret Carry


“The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team”. – Phil Jackson


By now, you already know the amazing benefits of building relationships at work. As a business owner who is passionate about the growth of your organization, you should hold the tips preferred in this post closest to your heart. Every organization that understands the importance of relationships within the workplace is set up already for success.

As an employee, as much as you know how to do your job, you should know how to build relationship at work. This is an important secret to building your career.

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