Building Relationships at Work: 9 Effective Ways

Building Relationships at Work: 9 Effective Ways

Work relationships can be highly beneficial, as they can help you collaborate better, communicate more effectively, and build trust. However, building relationships at work can be challenging, as many managers and leaders are often busy and focused on their work. That’s why this blog is dedicated to helping you build strong relationships with your team members. In each section, you will learn about why relationships are meaningful and what managers and leaders can do to build relationships to improve communication and collaboration within your team. Watch your workplace relationships become a solid foundation to help you achieve your goals!

Why is building relationships at work important?

In the workplace, relationships are key. They are essential for productivity and success and for managing and developing employees. Good relationships require communication, compromise, trust, respect, and kindness. When these qualities are present, everything else falls into place – from productivity to morale!

Elements of good workplace relationships

Workplace relationships are essential for a positive work environment. Developing good relationships with your colleagues is key to fostering trust and respect, which are necessary building blocks of solid workplace relationships. A good workplace relationship is one in which both parties feel appreciated and can work collaboratively. It is based on trust and respect. Trust means that both parties feel comfortable sharing personal information, and respect means that each party understands the other’s perspective and feels valued. A healthy workplace relationship also requires transparency, allowing clear communication about goals, progress, and challenges. Additionally, it is essential to have team morale high so that everyone wants to contribute their best efforts towards a common goal.

Why do managers need good relationships in the workplace?

A good relationship with your team leads to team productivity and success. Managers who have strong relationships with their employees can manage them effectively, provide guidance and support, and develop skills needed for workplace success. Additionally, having a positive relationship encourages employee loyalty, resulting in greater customer satisfaction and increased revenue. Finally, building solid relationships between managers and employees helps avoid office politics, which can often lead to conflictual working environments. Effective workplace relationships are crucial for managers and leaders as they must take their teams through different stages – wins and losses – and keep them together even in the face of calamities. Good relationships in the workplace allow them to place their trust in their teams and share their concerns comfortably with each other.

What are the important relationships for managers?

  • Team Members: The relationship with team members is fundamental. Managers should build trust, provide guidance, support, and promote a positive work environment. Effective communication and active listening are crucial in understanding their needs and fostering collaboration.
  • Peers and Colleagues: Building solid relationships with colleagues and peers across different departments or teams fosters collaboration, information sharing, and collaboration on cross-functional projects.
  • Senior Leadership: Maintaining a positive relationship with senior leaders is essential for aligning team goals with organizational objectives. Regular communication and updates ensure that your team’s efforts contribute to the larger business strategy.
  • Clients or Customers: For managers who oversee client-facing teams, maintaining positive relationships with clients is crucial for delivering exceptional service and meeting their needs.
  • Stakeholders and Partners: Depending on your industry, you need to build relationships with external stakeholders, partners, vendors, or suppliers. Effective collaboration with these entities can impact the success of your projects or operations.
  • Mentors and Coaches: Seeking guidance from mentors and coaches—within or outside your organization—can provide valuable insights and help you develop your leadership skills.
  • Successors and Potential Leaders: Developing relationships with potential future leaders within your team or organization can ensure a smooth transition and succession planning.

How to build relationships in the workplace?

Know your expectations and contributions

When you start building relationships with your team, you must understand what you can bring to the table and what you expect from others. Understanding your capabilities and availability ensures you know how much you can invest in a relationship. It saves you from making commitments that you cannot honor. Moreover, by clearly understanding what you expect, you can present those ideas to your team. Your opinion of a healthy relationship in the workplace can differ from theirs. Hence you may require some fine-tuning. When you understand your strengths and weaknesses, you can outline what you can add to the relationship and where others need to chip in. Read more: Expectation Setting at Work: 5 Tips Every Leader Needs

Establish and respect boundaries

It is essential to set boundaries with others at work, so both parties know where they stand in the relationship. Setting boundaries establish clear limits on what is permissible and what is not. It creates an environment where everyone knows their role in the relationship- allowing for smooth working relationships. Moreover, it will enable employees to find a safe space for their concerns if the connection fails to meet their needs.

Be self-aware

Awareness of your behaviors and how others perceive them is essential. It allows you to calibrate your interactions to ensure that each relationship remains healthy. It also makes it easy for employees when a difficult conversation or boundary setting is required- because they already know what needs to happen. Being self-aware helps individuals manage expectations, relationships, and work productivity simultaneously.

Remain open to listening & ask questions

It is essential to be open to listening and ask questions when unsure of how someone is feeling or what they may need. Listening actively allows for positive dialogue and the resolution of any potential issues. Additionally, it establishes trust in the relationship- a key component for building productive teams. Hence, asking questions and practicing active listening are essentials for managers who want to build workplace relationships in their teams.

Offer help to others

The best relationships are built by helping others. Offering help, guidance, and mentoring to employees can go a long way in building solid relationships. Doing so allows for development of positive habits that will benefit both parties. Moreover, it demonstrates appreciation for their contributions and helps them feel supported throughout their career. Offering support is one-way managers can build trust and relationships with team members by adopting the style of a coach in their leadership approach.

Appreciate others

One of the best ways to build relationships at work is to appreciate others. Doing so shows respect for their skills and contributions and encourages team-building. Additionally, it signals your efforts and innovation. You can express appreciation in various ways, such as thanking team members for their hard work or praising job performance when appropriate. Finding the right way to show appreciation is essential because not all employees are comfortable with verbal expressions of praise. In these cases, gifts or other forms of compensation can be more effective tools for building relationships at work.

Don’t get into office politics

Office politics can often ruin relationships at work. When disagreements arise, it’s important for managers not to get caught up in the drama. Instead, they should try and listen to their team members and find a compromise that satisfies all parties involved. Establishing working guidelines or ground rules that set boundaries on how workplace disagreements can be handled is also beneficial. By staying objective and professional during these discussions, managers build trust with team members while minimizing potential conflict.

One-on-one sessions

Beyond these techniques, new managers can try some other things, too, such as hosting one-on-one sessions with team members. One-on-one meetings allow managers and leaders to get into in-depth conversations with their team members. The conversations necessarily do not revolve around professional matters but can also take detours onto personal topics. They provide great insights to the managers about how the employees feel about the team, workplace, and other factors that affect them daily. In addition to exchanging feedback, it can create a safe space where the team and managers engage in defining comfort.

Relationship building activities

Regardless of what the manager tries to do to build relationships with team members, the most crucial part is that they take action. The key here is not only communicating the message but also following through. It means initiating contact and pursuing opportunities for building relationships, even if team members aren’t always open to it. Sometimes unconventional ways can be great tools for getting teams together. So, in addition to the standard engagement-boosting techniques, managers can look for innovative relationship-building activities that bring teams together. It can include ideas such as potluck meals, board games, or using idea boards during brainstorming sessions.

How to handle difficult relationships as a Manager?

Handling difficult relationships requires a combination of empathy, effective communication, and problem-solving skills. Here are some steps managers can take to navigate challenging relationships:
  • Self-Reflection: Start by examining your own emotions, biases, and reactions in the relationship. Understand how your behaviors might be contributing to the difficulties.
  • Empathy: Try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and understand their feelings, motivations, and concerns. Empathy can help defuse tension and create a more compassionate dialogue.
  • Address the Issue Directly: When you’re ready, address the issue directly with the individual involved. Choose a private and neutral setting for the conversation.
  • Focus on Solutions: Frame the conversation around finding solutions and common ground. Avoid dwelling on past issues or assigning blame.
  • Ask for Feedback: Invite the other person to share their perspective on the situation. It demonstrates your willingness to consider their viewpoint and find a resolution.
  • Know When to Let Go: If efforts to improve the relationship are consistently met with resistance or hostility, recognize when it might be best to disengage or limit interactions. 
  • Focus on Growth: See complicated relationships as opportunities for personal and professional growth. Embrace the challenges as chances to develop your communication and conflict resolution skills.
Remember that not all difficult relationships can be fully resolved. Still, by employing these strategies, you can work toward improving communication, understanding, and cooperation, which can lead to more positive interactions and outcomes.


Relationships at work are essential for a successful stint with a team. By understanding the importance of building relationships, you can develop strong working relationships with your team members and achieve success in your career. In this blog, we have outlined the steps you need to take to build relationships in the workplace. Make sure to read through the blog and follow the tips to build solid and lasting relationships with your team!

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What are the benefits of building relationship at work?

Building relationships at work helps managers connect with their team members. Effective workplace relationships add trust and establish psychological safety for the team members. Workplace relationships improve the experience of working together for the team members with an added sense of comfort and familiarity. As a result, when tensions are minimal and conflicts resolved amicably, the employees tend to perform better.

How to learn relationship building skills at work?

A few tips to build effective relationships at work are:
– Focus on your interpersonal and people management skills to connect better with the team
– Actively listen to other team members and provide support
– Become a mentor or guide for your team to aid their growth
– Maintain boundaries and respect those of others
– Develop emotional competence

What are healthy work relationships?

Healthy work relationships are those which create a positive work environment and enable the team’s growth and development. These relationships work on reciprocal basis where all the members practice open communication, transparency, and accountability for their actions. Healthy work relationships are fundamental to team cohesion and smooth collaboration.

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Author: Deeksha Sharma

Deeksha, with a solid educational background in human resources, bridges the gap between your goals and you with valuable insights and strategies within leadership development. Her unique perspectives, powered by voracious reading, lead to thoughtful pieces that tie conventional know-how and innovative approaches together to enable success for management professionals.

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