The link between social communication and success in the workplace is important – and sometimes overlooked. It can be easy to get caught up in the day-to-day routine of responsibilities, deadlines, projects, crises, and interoffice politics. Taking a step back to assess the quality of your workplace relationships, then trying to strengthen those bonds every day, can help move your career forward and give you greater satisfaction at work.
Building trusting relationships depends on strong communication skills. The following tips can help you improve your connections with supervisors, colleagues, vendors, and customers.
Strategies for Building Good Relationships at Work
Take time to communicate. Stopping by someone’s desk for a five minute chat, inviting a colleague to lunch or coffee, or sending a friendly email can all help you build a foundation for a good relationship. Face-to-face interactions are especially helpful, but even a quick email can build rapport.
Be generous with appreciation and thanks. Genuine compliments and sincere appreciation of good efforts can help solidify your workplace relationships. You can thank people for their help verbally, via email, or with a written note. You can tell your supervisor and colleagues about the great work your co-worker or vendor is doing. Being generous with compliments and appreciation will earn you goodwill and a reputation for being positive and fair.
Avoid gossiping. It can certainly be tempting to join in when co-workers are discussing the latest office rumors, but avoid getting caught up in gossip. Office gossip almost always ends up hurting the people involved, and your colleagues will inevitably find out about your participation. Instead, address any conflicts you’re personally having with a co-worker in a positive, direct way and shut down the rumor mill.
Practice active listening. Showing sincere interest in other people is one of the quickest ways to build a relationship. Ask questions to get to know them better, and really listen to their responses. Listening more than you talk in these situations will help others see you as trustworthy. Be sure to share something about yourself, though, too, so that the exchange is a two-way street and the relationship being built is one of mutual understanding and respect.
Communicate, communicate, communicate! You can’t really over-communicate with your bosses and colleagues. Make sure to keep them in the loop on progress, projects, deadlines, deals, and challenges. A quick summary email, a brief phone conversation, or regularly scheduled update meetings will help you keep everyone on the team up-to-speed with how things are going. This, in turn, will eliminate unpleasant surprises, feelings of frustration at not knowing the latest developments, or team members not being on the same page. You’ll make your boss look good, and your reputation as a productive team leader will grow.
Be dependable. When people feel comfortable talking with you to exchange ideas and discuss work-related problems, they will trust you and likely ask you for favors. Only promise what you’re reasonably sure you can do, and help them find another solution if you can’t assist them. Being true to your word is critical in keeping colleagues’ trust and maintaining the relationships you’ve built.
Participate more. Whether you’re at a meeting, a conference, or a social work event, an effective way to build relationships is by letting others know more about who you are. Sharing your knowledge and personality will help people learn more about you. You’ll be more approachable because they’ll have something they can discuss with you. If participating in a group setting feels uncomfortable, think about what you might like to share ahead of time so you feel more prepared.
By taking time every day to build good relationships at work, you’ll find that your career benefits – and you enjoy your workday more.
How do you build good relationships at work? Share your ideas here!